The new body will promote local films abroad, coordinate showcases and collaborate with foreign organisations on cultural events.

Tokyo-based distributor-exhibitor Image Forum and production and consultancy outfit Bewiz have joined forces to launch Japan Image Council (JAPIC), a new organisation to promote Japanese films abroad.

Among other activities, JAPIC will coordinate retrospectives and showcases of Japanese cinema around the world and collaborate with foreign organisations for cultural events in Japan.

Image Forum is a distributor of experimental local films, also operating a two-screen theatre in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Bewiz, founded by Hiromi Aihara, serves as a co-ordinator of Japanese cinema for several festivals including Rotterdam, San Sebastian and Toronto.

JAPIC is headed by Image Forum CEO Katsue Tomiyama, who holds the post of chairman, with Aihara as director of international affairs and Yuri Kubota as general manager of international affairs.