TOKYO, (AFP) – The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) opens on Thursday with its focus heavily on Japanese animated movies and with cult superhero “Ultraman” set to swoosh down the red carpet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The 27th edition of TIFF, which runs until October 31, will showcase the works of director Hideaki Anno, widely considered the natural successor to Oscar-winning anime master Hayao Miyazaki and celebrated in his own right after his sci-fi series “Evangelion” became a nationwide smash in the 1990s.
Among the movies to be screened on Thursday’s opening night are the animated superhero comedy “Big Hero 6”, about the crime-fighting adventures of a Japanese boy and his robot, which Disney hopes will be a Christmas hit.
Miyazaki, whose 2001 movie “Spirited Away” became the first anime film to win an Academy Award, has acknowledged Anno as his prodigy after saying last year’s “The Wind Rises” would be his last feature-length film.
TIFF will show 53 of Anno’s films, around a quarter of the entire festival’s content, over the course of the week.
Guests include gothic filmmaker Tim Burton while “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn is among a panel of six judges for the Tokyo Grand Prix, which offers a prize of $50,000 for best film.
The jury will choose from among 15 films, all but one from overseas, selected from more than 1,300 entries from 92 countries.
Other programmes include 3D short movies directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, senior managing director of game company Nintendo and renowned game producer for “Super Mario Bros” and “Donkey Kong.”
Side events will also include the screening of Chinese and South Korean films, as well as those about Spain and Latin America.