Film Festival Report, Tokyo Edition

I'm in Tokyo right now covering the Tokyo International Film Festival. As far as festivals go, TIFF could be a little more organized, but there are always some barriers to language and communication. But as far as bilingual festivals go - it's great! Japanese subtitles are on the right side of the screen, meaning there aren't two rows of text at the bottom of the screen like there were at Cannes and Venice. How else does TIFF compare? Let's see...

Cost 

TIFF is centered at the swanky Roppongi Hills, a large shopping/business/entertainment complex situated in one of the major expat neighborhoods in Tokyo. I found a decent studio nearby on Airbnb, which cost about as much as my flight from San Francisco to Taipei.  

Free Swag 

When I checked in to get my press badge, I received a cute canvas totebag with the TIFF logo, along with a copy of the official program that lists all the films this year. (They try to gouge you at other festivals by selling these for somewhere around $30).

Social Scene 

Approximately 97% of the press here is Japanese. The thing about Japanese people is that, while most understand at least a little English, many are reluctant to speak it because they are embarrassed of their accent. So what you see is all of the non-Japanese (i.e. white) journalists congregating. I get it - like Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, you are automatically bonded over your inability to communicate with everyone else around you. 

Venue 

Roppongi Hills is nice, but a bit confusing to navigate at first. The main cinema has comfortable seats that are pitched such that you have a good view of the screen regardless of where you sit. The climate control can be a little wonky - sometimes entering an auditorium that has already shown several screenings that day it can smell like a wet dog. 

 

 *You want to avoid talking to other journalists too much about films you haven't published reviews of yet, because you never know whether they might take your ideas.

*You want to avoid talking to other journalists too much about films you haven't published reviews of yet, because you never know whether they might take your ideas.

You can see my TIFF coverage here. Previous festival clips are on the Writing page.