The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) today unveiled the lineups in all sections, as well as the jury members, and highlights of this year’s 31st edition.
At a press conference at Toranomon Hills Forum in Tokyo, Festival Director Takeo HISAMATSU delivered opening remarks and emphasized the festival’s vision for the future. Mayu MATSUOKA, one of Japan’s most popular actresses, discussed her role as the 31st TIFF Ambassador. The Opening, Gala screening and Closing films were showcased. TIFF’s programming directors then took the stage to introduce the lineup for each section of the festival.
In the Competition section, 16 films were selected from among 1,829 titles, which was the largest number of entries in TIFF, from 109 countries and regions. Representing the two Japanese titles in this main competitive section, director Junji SAKAMOTO from Another World, and director Rikiya IMAIZUMI and actress Yukino KISHII from Just Only Love, were welcomed on stage and made remarks.
→ The full Competition section lineup
This year’s International Competition Jury members were also announced. Director Brillante Ma MENDOZA (The Philippines), winner of the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival, will serve as Jury President, alongside producer Bryan BURK (USA), actress Taraneh ALIDOOSTI (Iran), director-producer Stanley KWAN (Hong Kong), and actress Kaho MINAMI (Japan).
→ 31st Jury
Acclaimed director Masaaki YUASA, who is being honored this year with a retrospective in the Animation Focus section, greeted the audience after the retrospective lineup was announced. He will appear at talk sessions with special guests following his TIFF screenings.
→ The full lineup for The World of Masaaki YUASA
During the 10-day celebration, close to 200 films will be screened and unique film-related events will be held every day at the festival venues, including stage appearances, Q&A sessions and symposia featuring celebrated guests from around the world.
The 31st TIFF will take place October 25 to November 3, 2018 at Roppongi Hills, EX Theater Roppongi, Hibiya Step Square and other venues in Tokyo.
Quotes from Press Conference Guests
Mayu MATSUOKA, 31st TIFF Ambassador
Last year at TIFF, I received the Gemstone Award for young actors, so it’s a real honor to be chosen, just 12 months later, as the TIFF ambassador. The film I starred in, Tremble All You Want, also won the Audience Award at last year’s TIFF. I’m from Tokyo, so I’m especially proud to represent the festival. TIFF is a really special place, where we can learn a lot about other cultures, and spend time together in the main Roppongi venue, which has a really festive atmosphere. I appeared in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters, which won the Cannes Palm d’Or this year, and TIFF will be showing the film in the Japan Now Section. So I hope all film lovers, both Japanese and international, will join us for new and classic films.
Junji SAKAMOTO, Director, Another World, Competition Section
I’m not good at traveling, so I love this festival because I don’t have to pack a suitcase. I’m going to be 60 in a few days. I never expected when I was younger that I would be selected for this honor at the age of 60. I’ve been working as a director for 30 years, so I’m happy not only for myself but also my cast and crew. I had the three actors and the actress in mind when I wrote the original script. They’d never worked together before, so if I may use the metaphor of a ballgame, with Mr. Inagaki, he was like a fast, spinning ball going straight into my mitt; with Mr. Hasegawa, he was like a soccer ball, and you didn’t know where he would go; with Mr. Shibukawa, he tried to himself really hard, but fell short; and with Ms. Ikewaki, she was like a bowling ball, using incredible power to hit all the pins.
Rikiya IMAIZUMI, Director, Just Only Love, Competition Section
I’m so grateful that my film was selected. The first time I came to TIFF, I was in the audience, then I participated in the Japanese Cinema Splash Section, then in the Special Screenings Section and now, Competition. The Competition is something different for me, since it includes international films. Although I didn’t win any awards, being in Japanese Cinema Splash allowed me to meet a lot of TIFF staff and other filmmaking teams. I think encounters with other festivalgoers are really important. Even if a director can create a good film, without festival encounters, their work may not be widely seen.
Yukino KISHII, Actress, Just Only Love, Competition Section
I was listening to Mr. Yatabe and feeling so happy that such a passionate lover of film selects the Competition lineup. I have walked on the red carpet three times at TIFF, but it was always for the Japanese Cinema Splash Section. The Competition Section is really exciting for me. The Competition screens is even a bit larger than the screens where they show Japanese Cinema Splash films. I think the story in Just Only Love is really universal, so I hope people from all around the world can enjoy it.
Masaaki YUASA, Director, The World of Masaaki YUASA in the Animation Focus Section
I’m so honored that my work will be featured in such a prestigious film festival. I hope a lot of people will have a chance to see films they haven’t yet seen. Keiichi Hara was featured in this section last year, and there was an internet rumor that I might be next. But still, when I was selected, I thought it was a mistake. I really want to show my work to wider audiences, so I’m really grateful for this opportunity. I worked really hard on the flier for the TIFF retrospective, and I passionately hope many people will come. Maybe my earlier films were edgier, but I think my most recent work depicts deeper emotions that I want to share with the audience. I was asked not to talk about this until the official announcement on October 28, but I will also be discussing my brand-new film during TIFF.
Quotes from the TIFF Director and Programmers
Takeo HISAMATSU, Festival Director, 31st TIFF
Last year, my first as Festival Director, we introduced a new festival vision, expressing our commitment to be Expansive, Empowering and Enlightening. This year, I would like to strengthen this vision with a really diverse lineup. We have added a Gala Screening, a highlight in the middle of the festival. We will again have our Midnight Film Festival, with five screenings and an all-night screening that will be lots of fun. This year we’ll have A Tribute to Comedy, which will showcase many different genres. One new initiative, in collaboration with several cultural organizations, is TIFF Plus, with events to be held all over Tokyo. We will also have Cinema Athletic 31, focusing on sports films in the runup to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We’ve added a new location this year, Hibiya Step Square, where we’ll have Open-Air Screenings and other events. The biggest attractions of film festivals are not just the chance to see films, but also to meet new friends. We’ve strengthened opportunities for audiences and filmmakers to interact at TIFF, and we look forward to seeing you there.
Yoshi YATABE, Competition Programming Director
We selected 16 titles for the Competition, and 12 are by directors who are in their 40s and 50s. They are still up-and-coming, and they represent a range of visions of life in this fast-changing world. There are a variety of genres, from a comedy that’s like an erotic fairytale, to a biopic about ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, to harsh, realistic portrait of a 19th century farmer’s life, to a fantastic sci-fi epic, to a WWI tale that’s filled with disquieting terror, to a moving family drama that fuses horror and philosophy, to a comedy set against a complicated political backdrop, to a pure art film, to a sex satire set in Hong Kong – all are wonderful films that are worthy of your attention.
Kohei ANDO, Japan Now Programming Advisor
In this section, we present films that depict today’s Japanese culture and values, introducing them to international audiences. We will shine a spotlight on the internationally acclaimed star Koji YAKUSHO, who is entering his 40th year as an actor. We will be hosting a retrospective of five of his works, from classics to his latest masterpiece, all highlighting his incredible virtuosity, and Mr. Yakusho will be appearing. There are also nine other films in the section, including the Palm d’Or winner Shoplifters. Kirin KIKI performs wonderfully in that film, as well as in one of her last performances, in the film Mori, The Artist’s Habitat. We will also host Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and actors.
Kenji ISHIZAKA, Asian Future Programming Director and CROSSCUT ASIA Section
The Asian Future Section was created in 2013, so this is our sixth year. We focus on films by up-and-coming directors. This year we have eight films, five from East Asia, two from Southeast Asia and one from the Middle East. These films give voice to those who are most vulnerable, including the downtrodden, gender minorities, and the abused. We have a diversity in terms of genre and theme, and each is strongly recommended. CROSSCUT ASIA is in its fifth year, and this year’s theme is music, as represented by nine films from a variety of Asian countries. There’s a rich variety of music in our lineup, for example, a Japanese-style idol group in Bangkok, a group of Sunny-inspired female singers in Vietnam, and a hard-rock opera from the Philippines.