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A Preview of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2020

TIFF Logo

The 33rd Tokyo International Film Festival (TokyoIFF) runs from October 31st to November 09th and it is a physical event. Information on this page shows the various measures that will be taken by staff such as temperature checks, ensuring audiences wear masks, empty seats around viewers and other methods of ensuring physical distancing.

In terms of films, TokyoIFF has a pretty busy and diverse programme that pitches a lot of dramas alongside restored classics, animation and super sentai. On top of that, there are many interesting talks and other events scheduled with a range of guests.

Here is the festival’s trailer!

Like my last TokyoIFF post, I’ll keep this brief by writing in detail about films I haven’t covered before (or not that often) and I’ll also focus on titles from the indie end of the spectrum as well as utilising the main sections TokyoIFF has created to provide structure to this post.

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Japanese Films at the Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2020

The Skip City International D-Cinema Festival runs from Saturday, September 26th Skip City International DCinema Festival Poster 2020to Sunday, October 4th, 2020. Skip City was one of the first international competitive film festivals to exclusively feature digital cinema and in 2020 the 17th edition of the festival will be a totally difital experience as organisers take the festival online for the first time ever. There are 24 films programmed and they will be viewable over at the website Cinema Discoveries, a new streaming service that started in April this year. In terms of subtitles, Skip City provides English ones for Japanese films, so I am assuming they will do so for this year’s edition.

This is my first ever post about the Skip City International D-Cinema Festival even though I have been aware of it for many years since it is a hotbed of new film talent from Japan and its English-language information has helped me write trailer posts and festival previews in the past. The main reason I decided to write about it is because it features two works I reviewed as part of the Osaka Asian Film Festival earlier this year. These two titles and the filmmakers whom I interviewed provide a bright future for the Japanese film industry and I hope more people can watch their films.

My rewrites will get rewritten eventually but, for now, I suggest that you go to the festival page to see a better synopses and more director information…

Here are the films. To find out more information about them, just click on the titles:

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Japanese Films at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 (August 20th – September 02nd)

The Fantasia International Film Festival will be celebrating its 24th edition as a virtual event due to Covid-19. A variety of film screenings, panels and workshops will be accessible to viewers across Canada from August 20th through to September 2nd, 2020. There is a decent Japanese contingent of contemporary films and some recent titles stretching back 10 years.

The festival’s full lineup was announced last week. Here are the Japanese titles:

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Interview with Woman of the Photographs Director Kushida Takeshi at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020

Takeshi Kushida’s feature debut Woman of the Photographs garnered great word of mouth at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020. Taken with Daisuke Miyazaki’s Videophobiait was one of two films at the festival to tackle the idea of technology and social media connectivity and how they distort our view of ourselves. While the former trod a distinct techno-horror path that won it fans, Woman of the Photographs earned buzz with its kinder, almost comedic love story between two characters stuck in the past.

When misogynistic middle-aged photographer Kai (theatre actor Hideki Nagai) meets a former ballet dancer turned social media star named Kyoko (played by the dancer/actress Itsuki Otaki), a strange relationship develops as he leaves his cloistered life and gets sucked into retouching her images after she gets a particularly nasty scar. This forms the basis of a battle Kyoko engages in as she wrestles with whether to show her true self to the world or maintain a fake idealised image. Scars of the body and mind are literally and metaphorically poked and prodded for icky effect to create a story pertinent to our age, how our truth is eroded for fiction, but a seemingly unlikely love promises to snap the two out of their restrictive ways of thinking and save them.

Imaginative visual and aural design helps to create an atmospheric story. Takeshi Kushida took the time to talk his assured debut at the festival.

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Woman of the Photographs 写真の女 Dir: Takeshi Kushida (2020) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Woman of the Photographs    Woman of the Photographs Film Poster

写真の女Shashin no Onna

Release Date: June 27th, 2020

Duration: 89 mins.

Director: Takeshi Kushida

Writer: Takeshi Kushida (Script),

Starring: Hideki Nagai, Itsuki Otaki, Toshiaki Inomata, Toki Koinuma, Takaaki Kikuchi, Keiko Katsukura, Ryo Tsuchida,

OAFF Website

Writer/director Takeshi Kushida makes his feature debut with Woman of the Photographs, a story where a middle-aged photographer living a carefully controlled existence finds everything disrupted by the intrusion of a vivacious model whose presence triggers change. At 90 minutes, the film flies by but has depth as it asks questions about how people get mired in the past and confused over how to perceive themselves. With wit, drama and some special effects, the film goes beyond merely being topical and an “opposites attract” movie and becomes an absorbing drama about neuroses and love.

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Programme Announcement

Earlier this month, the organisers of the Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) 2020 announced the full line-up for the festival which takes place from March 6-15. This is the best event to see a cross-section of Asian cinema and nearly all of the films will have English subs – the only exceptions we know so far are “Birthday”, ” House of Hummingbird”, and “Malmoe The Secret Mission”.

Despite the issues surrounding Coronavirus, the festival is still going ahead but one section, the co-hosted event “Come to Life! vol.2 Gutai and Nakanoshima”, has been cancelled due to the decision of the co-host organiser. This means six films have been removed which brings the number of selected films screened from a record 64 to 58 in total. This number includes 12 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres, and 3 Asian Premieres with films submitted from countries and regions such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Poland, South Korea, Japan, and South East Asia.

Continuing on from previous editions of the festival, OAFF remains a beacon of progressive programming as 25 female directors find their works selected with over half the films in the Competition section directed by women. The festival programme features characters from across the world contesting with issues such as war, crime, bullying, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration and unionising in the workplace. OAFF continues to give a platform to filmmakers who face challenging issues, whether the films reckon with historical injustice or paint a brighter future through showing diverse characters navigating their way in our tumultuous world.

Please check the full line-up of OAFF 2020 which can be found here. Tickets for the films screening at the fest are already on sale.


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