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Tokyo market out of the blocks early

The 2014 edition of TIFFCOM has opened three days ahead of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), with opinions mixed about the likely effects of the date change.

Big Hero 6

Disney’s Big Hero 6 is one of two opening night films for the 2014 TIFF

For those delivering product with an established record out of previous festival screenings or wider releases, there’s likely to be little downside. For those holding rights to films premiering at TIFF, the results are likely to be bigger.

By the time trade reviews from the festival begin to publish, most of the buyers will be back home or on their way. That might affect local Japanese fare hoping to sell internationally rather more than international fare, little of which premieres in Japan. It seems a shame, since organisers have promoted a heavily local and regional focus for both the TIFF programme and other ancillary events this year.

Organisers claimed market numbers up on 2013’s, although ongoing diplomatic tensions between China and Japan saw a much-reduced Chinese presence at TIFF and TIFFCOM for the last couple of years. Also, organisers three years ago rebranded TIFFCOM as the Japan Contents Showcase (JCS), including the Tokyo International Music Market and Tokyo International Animé Festival into the event. As a result, the attendance numbers have become larger while not necessarily benefitting exhibitors.

This year’s market claimed 331 exhibitors and 1,158 buyers for its opening day. The JCS offered more exhibitors than Busan’s 195 at at AFM earlier this month but fewer attendees than AFM’s 1,566. While both events face international competion from MIPCOM and the US’ American Film Market, neither competes locally with Hong Kong’s FILMART which this year drew 772 exhibitors and 6,750 attendees.

The Japan Contents Showcase runs 21 – 23 October. TIFF opens 23 October and runs to 31 October.

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