Which festivals do you particularly rate and enjoy'
This year I've been to Berlin, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Toronto and will go to Pusan and AFM. I enjoy just about any festival. Berlin is very chilly but always has lots of new interesting things. Beki Probst (head of the European Film Market) has done a great job. It's even more organised, and very convenient. Cannes of course is always a huge event, and I feel very familiar and at home with it. Hong Kong seems to be pushing hard, and it has a good location, good food and good hospitality.
What is the blueprint for a good festival'
A good festival has to have lots of high-quality films. Location is very important, and of course hospitality and facilities for its attendees. Also, the time of year. Tiff is the last major international film festival, as far as the Japanese film business is concerned, ahead of the New Year. Of course, the autumn festival and market calendar is quite full, but this is how we've been operating for 24 years, and it makes the festival unique.
Which films have you enjoyed recently'
I'm always trying to see more films but recently I enjoyed The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones, What Happens In Vegas, Love In The Time Of Cholera, Twentieth Century Boys, Ponyo, of course, and The Witch Of The West Is Dead, a very good art film by Nagasaki Shunichi.
Are new film-making talents getting the chance to shine through'
In Japan, I can say yes. There is a wider range of content that derives from manga, animations and novels, and the local industry is very active these days so more people have opportunities to shine through.
What are you most looking forward to ahead of this year's festival'
I'm looking forward to the opening night, when we'll have the full cast of Red Cliff on the green carpet. I'm also looking forward to 'natural Tiff' supported by Toyota, and the Director's Angle with three famous directors, Shunji Iwai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Yojiro Takita, whose film Departures won the grand prix in Montreal (and has been selected as Japan's official entry to the Academy Awards foreign-language film category). Also, the Earth Conference, a special section with authorities on the subject speaking about art and the environment.
We're going to make a special effort this year hospitality-wise to make sure anyone participating in the festival has a good time and goes away satisfied. We have lots of exciting films in competition, and the competition jury will be headed by actor Jon Voight. He'll be joined by Chinese film-maker Jianqi Huo, US producer Michael Gruskoff, Brazilian cinematographer Cesar Charlone, Japanese actress Fumi Dan and the famous Japanese screenwriter Koji Takada.