12.000 people in attendance, between the general public and operators in the sector, this large number of spectators this year renew their appointment with Italian cinema, making this 5th edition of Tokyo’s Italian Film Festival , the best one yet. The initial results are excellent : the film chosen to open the festival, The House Keys,has already found a Japanese distributor (Zazie Films), and deals are being finalized for After Midnight and Agata and the Storm.
Sharing their thoughts on this event, some of the authors and actors that were part of the Italian delegation, made the following travel notes ….
“ I was sincerely surprised by the outcome of this trip to Tokyo. Having left with the notion that this was merely an institutional occurrence , instead I found myself part of a very well organized and clearly consolidated event, which this year celebrates its fifth edition in the city.
I realise that the Japanese audience’s appreciation of After Midnight is first of all due to the quality of the film, but also because it fits in perfectly as a cultural tool, in terms of promoting Italian cinema of wider range.
Naturally I hope that Adriana Chiesa Ent. will succeed in closing the distribution deal, but the fact remains that objectively we witnessed sold out screenings, as well as an enthusiastic response from the media, proof that Italian cinema exists and deserves attention.”
“ To speak of this Italian Film Festival in Tokyo as a positive experience seems to be the least I can say. Events of this nature are absolutely vital and necessary for our cinema, taking it beyond the national borders, not just in the negociations, but also mentally speaking.
In Tokyo, if it still was necessary to prove, Italian cinema continues to demand a lot of attention, since the number of spectators in the new market, is every year greater. One only needs to believe in it, invest and support it.”
“It is important to notice which of our films work well in front of a foreign audience, and which of those are too self referential. For us actors it is fundamental to make ourselves known, as an audience like the Japanese, tend to become very involved with the characters, and therefore eager to interact and meet them in person. Once they meet and become acquainted with these actors, they will follow them throughout their career. This is what I have noticed, on coming to Japan for the second time, on occasion of the Italian Film Festival.
The very special delegation made our arrival important, both artistically and quantitavely. This felt like a big event, with an important professional impact.”
“It is funny that in order for Italian cinema to be part of a very well organized event, it needed to travel to Japan…may I compliment you all! I witnessed a very large crowd waiting in line after the screenings, just to interact and meet the directors and the actors. A great cultural exchange that needs to be maintained and amplified in time.”
“One thought is not enough , two lines maybe too little, in order to describe what it felt like to spend 48 hours in Tokyo. What I will remember, is seriously involved and enthusiastic audience, ready to voice their ideas, open minded and well prepared… and the memory of all the raised hands in the theatre, when asked: How many of you have ever seen The Bicycle Thieves?
And I will recall the long and very organized line of people, waiting to get an autograph.. it is from these comparisons ( or comparisons in general) that one becomes aware, having something to measure oneself against, and become better…to be ready for a dialogue, means to be ready and approach a different culture, and extend our cinema towards new horizons…and new surroundings.. Thank you AIPfor this very brief but perfectly organized opportunity!”
“I believe that Tokyo, and the surprise of seeing such an attentive audience that loved us, and gave us such an unexpected and enthusiastic applause, has been a very precious experience.
Italian cinema needs to become a team, to become one in Italy, but most of all in the rest of the world.”
“Japan follows the U.S. as the second market in the world , it is a country that we wish to invest in, paricularly in regards to the love that the Japanese nurture for Italy, and for our cinema. Our cinema is in third place for the export of films in 2004, in the Japanese market.
I am therefore very proud, to have seen the great appreciation of our films this year by the Japanese audience, who continue to show a remarkable interest. The numbers speak for themselves: 12.000 spectators in 6 days ( next to the 10.000 spectators in the past edition).
I would like to thank the Italian Ambassador Mario Bova, the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, the editorial giant Asahi Shimbun, our partner, and the rest of the substantial delegation ( 20 people ) of artists, journalists and exporters that have accompanied us on this mission, hoping that also thanks to our own efforts, our Italian cinema will continue to increase the distribution and circulation of our films, in the country of the Rising Sun.”
Giovanni Galoppi (Presidente AIP-Filmitalia)