October 24, 2012

Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) - Open Ceremony

Information about the opening ceremony.


Green Carpet
It was a beautiful autumn day to walk the Green Carpet, led by the 120 people who appeared in the Opening Film, “Japan in a Day”, paving the way to the opening of the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival. TIFF Ambassador, Ms. Atsuko Maeda strolled up Keyaki-zaka Street and generously went to greet and sign autographs for the multitude of exulting fans and answered to the countless media lining the street. Also seen on the walkway was The President of Jury, Mr. Roger Corman, who received the Honorary Oscar of Lifetime Achievement for his devotion towards filmmaking for over 60 years. The last to charm the fans and media were Actress Erica Linz from the Official Opening Film and world premiere, “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” and Ms. Aya Ueto, the official navigator of this film. The incredible artists from the Cirque du Soleil also highlighted the sunlit walkway with their amazing performance.
All guests attended the Opening Ceremony held at the TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills Screen 7.

Opening Ceremony

This year commemorates the 25th year of the Festival which is now one of Asia leading film festivals and embraces the need to go green. It is the fifth year since the Green Carpet was rolled out. This year theme is “The Power of Films, Now!” At the beginning of the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival Opening Ceremony, Chairman Yoda came out on stage to express his enthusiasm and expectations, as well as gratitude to everyone who has supported the Festival. "We have wonderful members of the International Competition Juries, headed by a highly respected Mr. Roger Corman. Last year, The Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix went to Untouchable. The film was a huge success worldwide, notably in Tokyo and France as well as in Germany with an audience of 20 million and 6.5 million for the United States and Korea.” Mr. Yoda continued, “TIFF commenced in 1985 and only until five years ago, there were 690 feature films to enter our festival. However,that number has soared to 1,332 entries, up 36% from last year! In commemoration of the 25th edition, our warmest appreciation is extended to Mr. Raymond Chow, for supporting the festival since its launch in 1985.” With this, Chairman Yoda declared the opening of the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival.

Mr. Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) followed, “I am very delighted to be here with you today. I would like to welcome distinguished guests including ambassadors from many countries to join us to celebrate the opening of the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival. I have been holding the post of Minister of METI for over one year, and I truly feel the power of film. We are implementing the Cool Japan project to promote entertainment and film to promote the Japanese industry. Particularly, anime is one of big contents made in Japan, and so is J-Pop. Film is a powerful medium to deliver with the combined efforts of various talents. TIFF truly plays an important role in leading the film industry in Japan.”

TIFF Special Appreciation Award
Mr. Raymond Chow was to be honored with the TIFF Special Appreciation Award in gratitude of his support of the festival since its launch in 1985. However, as he was medically unfit to fly to Japan due to diagnosed chronic middle ear infection, the award was received by Mr. Wilfred Wong, Chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Mr. Wong read out a message from Mr. Chow.

Distinguished guests, Mr. Tom Yoda, ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for honouring me with this very meaningful award. My filmmaking career has taken me all over the world, but the Tokyo International Film Festival holds a special place in my heart. I wish I could be here this evening, thanking you in person, and enjoying your company. Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.

The Ceremony moved on to introduce the films in the Competition section and the five juries onto stage. The International Competition Juries, headed by the highly respected Mr. Roger Corman greeted the audience. “Iwas at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 1994 and it has really grown since then. I truly appreciate the concept of green and ecology, which is the theme of the festival. My fellow jury members and I know very little about the films in the Competition Section, but we look forward to seeing the very good selection of films.”

The Ceremony proceeded to introduce the key sections of the Film Festival “Special Screenings´, “Winds of Asia-Middle East”,“Japanese Eyes”, “World Cinema”,“natural TIFF supported by TOYOTA” and the respective juries.

Special Opening Film 
This year´s Special Opening Film was, “Japan in a Day” screened prior to the Opening Ceremony. One year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Director Sir Ridley Scott set out a message to the world asking people to send him their personal footages of March 11th. More than 8,000 private footages were sent in from around the world, and these were combined into one film as a documentary. Ridley Scott´s message was read out at the Opening Screening. "When we created “Life in a Day”, we had no idea where the process would take us. It was essentially an experiment, a chance to reach out to the world and ask for their personal responses to what it was like to be living on Earth that day. What we never could have imagined was that it would become such a powerful way to engage people in sharing their lives. Japan in a Day has taken the Life in a Day format and turned it into a unique, emotional, honest and insightful window onto the lives of Japanese people, a year on from their devastating tragedy. I wish Fuji Television and all those involved in making this beautiful document my very best wishes. I'm sorry I can't be there with you tonight to celebrate this achievement, but my thoughts are with you.”

Official Opening Screening
The World´s superb entertainment group, Cirque du Soleil has turned their ultimate performance of full beauty and intensity into a 3D film “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” director, Mr. Andrew Adamson, Executive Producer, Mr. Jacques Méthé, Actress, Ms. Erica Linz, and Navigator, Aya Ueto were introduced onto stage. Mr. Adamson enthusiastically spoke, “When Jacques first came to me and asked me to make a 3D movie I asked him why he would do that- that is, why he would take this incredible experience and present it in a different format. I realized that it is an opportunity to take these amazing performers and the world of Cirque to share them with the world.´ Mr. Méthé also followed, “It was a great experience to do this film and I hope it will be a great experience sharing it with you. Japan has been a great supporter of the Cirque du Soleil for almost 20 years and so it is a great honor to open this festival with our film!´ Leading actress, Ms. Linz commented,“Growing up in Colorado, I didn´t have the opportunity to see much of the world or a show like the Cirque du Soleil. But when I did see it, it changed my life. And so it is a privilege to be here in Japan and to share this film with the world.´ In the end, Ms. Ayato also shared her passion for this unique film. “I have seen Cirque du Soleil in Japan but this 3D version is quite different from what I´ve experienced. The story is deep and the music is wonderful. It was a very unique experience!

Executive Producer, James Cameron could not join festival but he sent a special video message for the Opening Ceremony. “Konnichiwa! I am delighted to introduce to you our latest film, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away in 3D. I have always been a big fan of Cirque du Soleil and I am excited to bring this world to you in a way that has never been seen before. The 3D allows you to feel like one of the performers and truly brings the images to life. Discovering Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away through the medium of film also allowed us to enhance the performances through slow motion, close-ups, the costumes and stage design. I am honored that our film has been selected as the Opening Film for the Tokyo International Film Festival. Japan is the first country to release this film in the world. My relationship with TIFF is longstanding. It has been 15 years since Titanic was the Official Opening Film of this festival. Cirque du Soleil is the ultimate entertainment and we invite you to discover that in our film. Arigato!

In the end, Mr. Adamson added the following comment. “It is as if you are transported to another word a world of dreams, a world where anything is possible. The performers work hard to make the impossible look so easy and combine danger with beauty in a way. That is so thrilling. SoI hope you enjoy watching the impossible come real!

During the Film Festival, Tokyo will turn into a city of films. In addition to the screenings, appearance by film makers and other special events will be held at the Movie Café, TIFF Park and the Roppongi Hills Arena.


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