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26th Tokyo Film Festival Jury Upfront

By Liza Foreman


The 26th Tokyo International Film Festival is underway. Here is what the jury had to say at their opening press conference. And we will hear from them in about eight days time, following their marathon film watching schedule, and see what they have to say then.

15 films have been selected for the competition section. The judges this year are -

Chris Weitz: I’d like to express my gratitude for being chosen as a jury for the Tokyo International Film Festival. The variety of films chosen for competition are pretty extraordinary. There are comedies, dramas, and films with great social importance. What I’m looking for is a spark of creativity. The ideal thing for a director would be to draw inspiration. Personally, I’m looking for something that’ll remind me why I love cinema so much.

Moon So-ri: I’m so happy to be able to come to Japan again. In fact, coming to Japan is like seeing a good friend. I’d like to watch and enjoy the films as an audience rather than as a jury. After the film is over, I’ll probably really think about that film in terms of the director’s thoughts, what message the director wanted to convey, and how deep the director’s heart was in the film. The film that reached out to my heart the most is probably the one that I’d like most.

I’ve been touched by actors with decades of experience in acting and have been impressed by children or amateur actors as well. Rather than the actors’ surroundings or techniques, what’s important is his/her sincerity towards acting. When that sincerity is felt, I believe one’s heart is greatly moved. I hope to see such acting in the competition films.

Chris Brown: It’s a double pleasure to be at this festival—to be a member of the jury and to have my film screened at this festival. I look for inspiration in films. But at the same time, there are so many movies to see that it’s as if being presented with the most incredible feast! In each and one of them, one will find inspiration and stimulation through a story that is exciting. My hope is that, that is what I will find in this banquet of delicacies.

Shinobu Terajima: I realize that I have a very important role as a member of the jury. I think it’s much easier to walk down the Green Carpet than having to judge films. A film is shown on a dark screen where all of a sudden, I am pulled into the screen and the film. Those are the films that remain with me for a long time. I like movies where various facets of human nature and behavior are portrayed.

As for judging films as an actress, there are movies I see purely for entertainment. Yet, as an actress, I do pay close attention to the acting in films. If I think I’d do better, then maybe that movie wasn’t such a good one... But when I feel almost jealous towards the acting, I know it’s a good film. As a matter of fact, I was very jealous of Ms. Moon So-ri’s acting in Oasis!

Chen Kaige: We have our responsibilities as a juries but I also think the pressure is on the media. That is, this festival lies in the hands of how the media presents this festival to the world. I am working on my next film at the moment, so coming to the Tokyo International Film Festival is a great chance to see films created by new directors.

A film mirrors the director as he/she is. Therefore, even if you don’t personally know the director, a film can tell you who a friend is. I look forward to seeing films that are rich in unique personal experiences. Without experiences, the world of cinema wouldn’t have come this far. At the same time, experiences are something which the audience should be able to empathize with. I hope to see such films at this festival.

Young directors are free from the pressures of filmmaking. I was just over 30 years old when I shot, Yellow Earth. After I studied film direction at the Beijing Film Academy, I had no experience in filmmaking and very little concept of what film direction was about. It was a bold move I took making that film. After shooting several films, you begin to be judged on the outcome of the film which becomes daunting. Yet, young directors need none of that—I say they be bold and challenging, and to maintain and express their purity in their films.

About Liza Foreman