20th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) (Oct. 20-28, 2007)
TIFF Comes of Age
by Houshang Rasti

When TIFF was first launched in 1985 and was held every other year, it was among few Far East film festivals which aimed to help young filmmakers. The young directors section of the festival handed out hefty cash prizes to young directors, which made it unique among other festivals. However, as Shanghai and Pusan festivals were respectively launched in 1993 and 1996, TIFF was derailed. The young directors section was abandoned and the festival turned into a flamboyant display of Hollywood productions. However, Tokyo could not compete with other two festivals in this regard, because it was held near the year-end and all prominent films had already been screened in other festivals. Therefore, TIFF has paid more attention to the Asian cinema during recent years and has been reduced from an international festival to nearly an Asian one. There were no signs of the American and European celebrities. However, in terms of regular planning, TIFF is impeccable. Everything is done on time. Many guests, who have been to other festivals, admit that no other festival’s schedule is as painstaking as that of TIFF. This year, the festival was even more punctual and orderly to prove that the Japanese are still unique in terms of punctuality and seriousness in what they do.

This year, the festival turned 20, which is the age of maturity in Japan. There is a special day in Japan which is called the day of “coming of age” when all young people who turn 20 take part in a cerebration held in their honor. Being 20 years means that they are eligible to vote. Tokyo International Film Festival has also come of age and there were many changes in it. The festival was totally online. To apply for a journalist card you had to fill in a form on the Internet and upload a photo. Another change was cancellation of the opening ceremony, which had become limited to red carpet ceremony. The names of some sections had also changed. For example “Winds of Asia” section had been renamed “Winds of Asia-Middle East”. “Fantastic Film Festival” had been crossed out and new sections like “World Cinema”, “Tokyo in Focus”, and “TIFF in Akihabara” had been added. Beginning from this year, TIFF was part of the Japan International Contents Festival. Therefore, there were more subsections like China film week, Korea film week, Hong Kong film week, Internet Film Festival, short films and animation festival, as well as computer games, which were held in Akihabara region. Almost all those who have visited Japan, have also been to Akihabara. Akihabara is known as the electronic city of Japan and you can find all electric devices at relatively lower prices than other places...

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