Film-maker Naomi Kawase has unveiled plans to launch the Nara International Film Festival.
Kawase - whose The Mourning Forest won the Cannes 2007 Grand Prix - is chairing non-profit organisation The Nara International Film Festival Planning Committee and is lobbying for funds for a major event through the federal government's $24.2m (Y2.5b) 'Regional Business Stimulation Initiative' which commenced this year.
The festival aims to launch an annual event beginning in 2010, tying in with the 1300th anniversary of the city becoming the country's capital (710-784).
'My dream is for Nara to host films and film-makers from around the world, supporting cultural exchange and promoting the best of Nara,' stated Kawase, who has long been a supporter of her hometown.
Kawase boldly stated the festival's ambitions, hoping to build it into a world class event. 'We aim to create something on par with the big three film festivals, Berlin, Venice and Cannes.' To further promote and explain its goals, a symposium with 100 invited guests is planned.
The committee has applied for $416,000 this year. Funding determinations will be announced by the federal government this July from over 1100 applications received nationwide.
The developments follow highly-publicized calls for more government support for Japanese cinema from Kawase after her success at 2007's Cannes film festival.
In a result that surprised many on the Croissette last year, Kawase's The Mourning Forest nabbed the Grand Prix. Kawase previously won the Camera d'Or for her first feature Moe No Suzaku a decade prior, in 1997.