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Japanese Industry Rallies

By Liza Foreman

 

Los Angeles - Considering that The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), (22-30October 2011), and its market arm TIFFCOM, two of Japan’s premiereentertainment industry events, place such a dedicated focus on initiatives tosave the planet – in keeping with Japan’s generally eco-friendly positioning - lastweek’s tragedy there seems all the more poignant.

Still, as the Japanese government works to find a solution to its nuclearpower crisis and the devastating consequences of last week’s tsunami andearthquake, the Japanese film industry is keeping a cool head, and has made thedecision to stick to plans to attend next week’s industry meets in Hong Kong.

TIFF and TIFFCOM announced Thursday that they are “working to resumeoperations as normal,” and will be sending delegations to both the Hong KongFilm Festival and the city’s FILMART content market which runs March 21-24,2011.

The Japanese representation in Hong Kong will include the followinginitiatives:

 - A UniJapan EntertainmentForum will go ahead as planned on March 22, focusing on internationalco-production and looking at how different countries can come together tosupport film. Speakers will include Shogo Tomiyama, Secretary General, JapanAcademy Prize Association/TOHO; Tomoko Katahara, General Manager/Producer,J&K Entertainment Inc.; Dongbing Shan: Producer, Delight (Beijing)Communication Co., Ltd; Mathew TANG: Head of Productions, EDKO Films Ltd; andFi-Fen CHIEN: Producer, CHI & Company.

- A Japan Booth will represent nineteen Japanese companies, includingAsatsu-Dk, Asahi Broadcasting Corporation, Omagact Entertainment, KadokawaShoten, Gaga, Cruiser, Gold View, Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan,showgate, Jolly Roger, SKY Perfect Broadcasting, SDP, T.O. Entertainment, TBS,Nikkatsu, NTV, NAKED INC, BAI-LIN, and Happy Project.

- Screenings of Japanese short films at Filmart on March 22, andMarch 23 at the HKCEC venue, and a film production project for YoungFilmmakers.

In a statement sent out Thursday, TIFF and TIFFCOM said: “We sincerelythank you all for the heartfelt sympathy and all the support and assistanceextended to the Tohoku off-Pacific Ocean Earthquake that hit on the Japan'sTohoku coastal region on March 11.”

Green initiatives have taken on an ever-greater role at TIFF sincethey were first introduced four years ago.

The most obvious symbol of these extensive efforts is the greencarpet, which is made from recyclable plastic bottles and which guests walkwearing recycled green bow-ties. The green carpet is made from some 23,000recycled plastic bottles.

Green power is used to run all screenings, which meant  that the festival reduced its CO2emissions by 33 tons, the equivalent of the amount of power used by 5,133households in a single day in 2009.

The green theme is also evident in TIFF’s programming. The NaturalTIFF section showcases films focusing on the relationship between man andearth. Last year’s titles include Cane Toads: The Conquest and SummerPasture, which follows a nomadic couple living in Tibet. Each year,Toyota’s Earth Grand Prix prize, is awarded to an “outstanding film exploringthe relationship between nature, the environment and ecology” meanwhile.

During TIFF, there are boxes placed to collect donations for greencharities. Organizations that received money in 2009, included the Green TokyoFundraising Campaign, the Japan-Malaysia Assn.’s Kinoshita Forest, The NationalLand Afforestation Promotion Organization’s Lawson Green Fund and the NationalFederation of UNESCO Association in Japan’s Future Heritage Project. Thefestival also sponsors eco-friendly products introduced during the events.

Every year, TIFF organizes the TIFF Earth Conference, during whichenvironmental experts and filmmakers swap notes on current ecological themes.

“Going green is a global trend which the festival and its sponsors arevery serious about,” TIFF chairman TomYoda said at the festival in October. “We started three yearsago, and have been introducing more and more measures and we will develop thisfurther.”

This year’s InternationalFilm Festival (TIFF) is scheduled to take place from October 22-30, 2011.  Applications for submitting films willbe available on the official TIFF website from late April at http://www.tiff-jp.net/en/tiff/competition.html.

“Whilecurrently rescue operation is in action and all Japanese are making everyeffort to respond to earthquake damages in the region, our TIFF/TIFFCOM teamtries vigorously to resume ordinary operation from this week,” the festivalsaid in a statement.

“Accordingto the report, people have no power against natural disaster, however we arevigilantly in the direction of recovery, with all the supports locally andinternationally given to Japanese, by the Government and individuals workingtogether to tackle such a devastating situation challenging us.”

Throughits Cool Japan initiative, the Japanese government has been making a greaterpush for some time for its so-called soft industries. In 2010, overseas contentsales of Japanese product reached $8.6 billion with a goal to increase thisfigure to $28 billion by 2020. In Japan, the content business currently accountsfor 2.2 percent of the GDP, compared with a figure of 5.1 percent in the U.S.In terms of a percentage of exports, Japan’s content business accounts for 1.9percent of the country’s exports while in the U.S. that figure is 17.8 percent.

 


 

About Liza Foreman

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