The 9th TIFFCOM market in Tokyo closed yesterday (Oct 25) at its new venue in Odaiba with buyer registration up 120% year-on-year to 983. Organisers announced a total of 12,863 participants with a record 229 exhibitors including 113 first-time exhibitors.

TIFFCOM had twice as many buyers from Thailand and 1.5 times as many from Malaysia this year. Canada, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan and UK opened umbrella stands with Mexico and Spain amongst the first-time exhibitors.

UK-based Mentorn International sales executive Nick Tanner said: “The new venue is better suited to the event, but the location is not as good. But I had a lot of quality meetings. It was better attended this year. Most of my meetings were pre-arranged, but some were surprise walk-ins and it was a good mixture.”

Sellers without booths could be seen making use of the Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba’s lobby coffeeshop for meetings while the official TIFFCOM market was one floor down along with television, music and other content markets.

With Busan’s Asian Film Market and MIPCOM the week before and the American Film Market (AFM) upcoming, sales agents have been fielding offers they mostly plan to close at AFM.

Toei International Sales manager Tadayuki Okubo said: “TIFFCOM is okay as always but the new venue is too far from central Tokyo. Buyers are satisfied with the hotel, but Japanese sellers are coming from home and it isn’t convenient. As for business, we have deals pending for AFM. There are too many markets anyway. Some buyers skip Tokyo which is why a lot of people were in Busan. All in all, it was better than last year.”

Participants shuttled from the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) main venue in Roppongi Hills at the rate of four vans an hour. The ride takes approximately half an hour each time.

Woody Kim, one of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) umbrella stand managers, said: “Because the festival and market venues are divided, a lot of the sales agents at our stand have left at lunchtime on the third day – they have meetings in Roppongi. Some of them moved their hotel to that area, too. A lot of festival programmers that they have to meet with are staying in Roppongi. The fact that there are four markets in this venue might be convenient for buyers, but the film market side doesn’t get pushed to the fore.”

One of the strengths of TIFFCOM and TIFF is the festival’s Japanese subtitled screenings that afford local distributors a chance to see foreign films more comfortably and often with local audience reactions.

Fortissimo chairman Michael J. Werner said: “As a result of our festival screenings during TIFF, which were well attended by Japanese multi-rights distributors, we are fielding multiple offers on several of the titles shown and we are confident that licensing deals will be concluded for Japan in the coming days and certainly by the time that the AFM is over.”

The TIFFCOM Project Market took place on the 29th floor of Le Daiba, bringing together 20 projects from 11 countries with a focus on potential Japanese co-productions. It also hosted the inaugural Ateliers du Cinema Europeens (ACE) co-production lab.