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Festivals & events

24 March 2010 à 16:08

Japan: French Film Festival report

The French Film Festival in Japan organized by Unifrance took place March 18 through 22 in Tokyo.

The 14 features and 9 shorts selected for the French Film Festival in Tokyo were all presented at the Toho Roppongi Hills multiplex in the heart of Tokyo. The movie complex's largest theater, with seating capacity of 644, hosted the festival and the artists who came to Japan for the event.

The delegation, led by Jane Birkin, included many of France's most important auteurs: Arnaud Desplechin, Laurent Cantet, Bruno Dumont, Cédric Kahn, Catherine Corsini; popular directors such as Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Radu Mihaileanu; cult director Gaspar Noé; young filmmakers such as Mia Hansen-Love, Christopher Thompson and Benoit Pétré; iconic actors like Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny, and Cécile de France, along with newcomers to the scene Elisa Sednaoui and Alexei Guskov.

The festival opened with a red carpet unfurled in front of the cinema and the presentation of the delegation to a packed house prior to the screening of Micmacs.

The public did justice to the films, topping 8,000 admissions in 5 days, representing 80% capacity houses. The public were given the opportunity to see the films again during two Cinema Nights, which were devoted to "Love in the French Style", which was the theme of several of the films selected: Regrets, Leaving, Hadewijch, and Bus Palladium. The Audience Award went to The Concert by Radu Mihaileanu.

Several events completed the program. During the festival, the Franco-Japanese Institute in Tokyo organized a complete Alain Resnais retrospective. The veteran filmmaker's latest opus Wild Grass was presented at the Eurospace Cinema in Shibuya, in the presence of Mathieu Amalric and Anne Cosigny. The Institute also devoted a retrospective to Laurent Cantet, who presented The Class. Lastly, director Bruno Dumont gave a master class at the Tokyo Film School.

Of the 14 features presented, 9 already have a theatrical release planned in the coming months. With these releases in mind, the artists representing these films gave numerous interviews to the Japanese press. The festival is also a springboard for films slated for release shortly after the event, and the exceptional participation of Japanese distributors this year demonstrated that the event certainly fulfils this role. 5 features among the selection have yet to find a distributor in Japan. The sales agents of these titles, who were present in Tokyo, were able to take advantage of the visibility provided by the festival to progress in their negotiations with potential Japanese distributors. Special screenings of these films had been organized beforehand for buyers, along with press screenings for all the films in the selection.

The festival is also matched each year with a French Film Market. 25 French film companies participated this year, on hand to meet with Japanese buyers. Held in a private bar at the Roppongi Hills Grand Hyatt, the Market was the stage for many meetings that resulted in several acquisitions. Participants consider the French Film Market as increasingly important given that Japanese buyers no longer necessarily flock to the Berlin or Hong Kong markets, or even to Cannes. In the present context of the Japanese market, which is extremely difficult for foreign films (domestic product claimed a 57% market share in 2009), the French Film Festival and Market in Japan are both a showcase for our product and a place where deals are made.

Author : Valérie-Anne Christen

Latest update : 26 April 2010 à 16:08 CEST

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Institut franco-japonais - Tokyo

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French Film Festival in Japan - 2010

Type : Unifrance festival

Theme : French films