Feature wins new Tallinn Black Nights Japan - Estonia Partnership Award;

The TIFFCOM market wrapped yesterday (Oct 24) with the newly launched Tallinn Black Nights Japan - Estonia Partnership Award for a CoPro Connection project going to director Hirofumi Kawaguchi’s Where The Peacock Fly.

The feature project portrays the quest for justice by a cosplay idol protecting a Burmese refugee blamed for murder.

The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and UNIJAPAN have initiated the award to develop more opportunities for “Japanese films with high European collaboration potential” and “increase production and service collaboration between the film industries of Estonia and Japan”.

The award winner will meet potential investors and co-producers in Estonia during the 17th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival’s Industry @ Tallinn programme (Nov 25-29).

“What struck the chord with Peacock was the clear determination for collaboration with a Northern European DoP and creative partners to bring a new visual and production sensibility to the film,”said Sten Saluveer, industry director of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

“As the project’s central theme of refugees also strongly resonates with overseas audiences, the project surely paves way for benefits for both Japanese and potential Estonian production partners.”

TIFFCOM results

The TIFFCOM film and TV market was held as part of the Japan Content Showcase, which also housed the 10th Tokyo International Music Market (TIMM) and the Tokyo International Anime Festival Fall 2013 (TIAF).

Japan Content Showcase organizers reported a 109% increase on registered buyers up from last year’s 1,074 and a record number exhibitors – 316, up from 275 last year.

They had participants from 26 territories (up from last year’s 25) with Cambodia represented for the first time.

TIFFCOM director Mika Morishita said: “In the second year in Odaiba, all our staff now know how to handle the new venue. And this year, UniJapan and Vipo [Visual Industry promotion Organization] organized the event together because now the Japanese government is supporting Japanese companies for exporting content since this March.

“They can get 50% for rental fees and advertisement materials, so that’s why Japanese exhibitors have really increased. Last year we had 121, this year 156.”

She explained the quietly announced J-LOP subsidy for Japanese companies exporting contents, food and any other products as part of the “Cool Japan” initiative was started March 19.

It can give up to 50% in support from the government for market booths, publicity materials, subtitling and dubbing costs, travel expenses for sellers and sometimes even directors and actors as well as a reception in Cannes or the like. The total budget for this initiative is $159m (¥15.5bn).

Japanese companies were busy with meetings throughout the market while foot traffic was generally up from last year.

Morishita notes there were more networking parties such as the Canadian beer mixer, Korean reception and sake parties at Fuji TV and the Japan Film Commission’s stands.

Sales agents meeting with local buyers seemed to accept the slowness in the deal-signing process with an appreciation for being on Japanese buyers’ home turf.

Luna Kim, director of international sales and co-production at Korea-based Finecut said: “In Tokyo, I mostly meet the Japanese buyers. They have to discuss with their other [in-house] teams like marketing and distribution teams, which takes time.

“We’ve had good results for our films and are wrapping things up for AFM.”

Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, director of market development at UK trade body Pact, said: “This is the UK’s third year opening an umbrella stand and we’ve had the biggest delegation – 11 companies – yet.

“We’ve been very proactive beforehand, to let people know what the Japanese market looks like and make sure they are a bit more prepared in terms of knowing who the buyers are and what to expect.”

Speaking about the new venue in Odaiba versus the old in-town in Roppongi Hills, McCarthy Simpson commented: “The structure of it works. It’s a business center market.

“But there’s a missed opportunity for people who travel halfway around the world at great expense to not be able to experience the culture that you would easily be able to do in Roppongi just walking down the street or eating in neighborhood restaurants. Because that could help inspire the sellers to know what it is Japanese people might want to watch.

“The level of buyers was up, but since we’re also all staying in Odaiba, we might as well almost be anywhere else in the world.”

Addressing in part the issue of being so far away from the Tokyo International Film Festival’s (TIFF) main venues and limited festival participation, TIFFCOM screened TIFF’s Japanese films for market participants to see with their badges.