With a sharper focus on Asian and Japanese films, theTokyo International Film Festival (Oct 10-30) has announced its line-up for its18th edition.

The opening film will be Riding Alone for Thousands ofMiles, Zhang Yimou's new film about an elderly man embarking a researchtrip in China for his dying son. Star Ken Takakura is a long-time favorite ofZhang's, as well as a Japanese film industry icon with more than 100 entries inhis filmography.

The two closing films will be Song Hae-seongu's Rikidozan,a Japan-Korea co-production about a legendary pro-wrestler who was born aKorean but fought in Japan as a Japanese in the 1950s, and Takashi Minamoto's Untilthe Lights Come Back, a romantic drama set into a blacked-out Tokyo duringthe Christmas holiday season.

First-time competition programming director ChisakoTanaka has selected fifteen films from 586 entries, including Hans Canosa's ConversationsWith Other Women, Jutta Brueckner's Hitler Cantata, RobinsonSavary's Bye Bye Blackbird, Yang Ya-zhou's Loach Is Fish andKichitaro Negishi's What the Snow Brings. The jury chairman will beZhang Yimou, assisted by critic Ronald Holloway, actress Kaori Momoi (Memoirsof a Geisha, The Sun) and novelist Koji Suzuki (The Ring).

In addition to the opening and closing films, the SpecialScreening section will include Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, NickPark's Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, JohnMadden's Proof, John Mangold's Walk the Line, Courts Hanson's InHer Shoes, Scott McGhee's Bee Season, Roman Polanski's OliverTwist and Park Chan-wook's Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The guestlist for these and other Special Screening films has yet to be announced.

The Winds of Asia section will offer special focuses onTaiwanese and Korea films, as well as a twelve-film New Panorama program offilms from Southeast Asia. The opening film will be Stanley Kwan's EverlastingRegret and the closing film Garin Nugroho's Of Love & Eggs. Thefestival will also present an eleven-film Japanese Eyes section of new Japanesefilms by both veteran and new directors, headed by Mitsuo Yanagimachi's Who'sCamus Anyway, a selection of the 2005 Cannes Director's Fortnight.

Another TIFF highlight is the TIFFCOM 2005 featuring theAsia-Pacific Entertainment Market, to be held from October 26 to 28 the TIFF'smain venue in Roppongi Hills. More than 100 exhibitors have already signed upfor the market to present films, TV programs, animation and other visualcontents from Japan and Asia. Among the exhibitors are Japan's five commercialnetworks, pubcaster NHK, as well as Kadokawa Herald Pictures, Pony Canyon,Shochiku, Toei,, Toho International and Toshiba Entertainment.

Related events include the Tokyo Project Gathering forpresenting projects toinvestors and producersand the TIFFCOMLocation Market, where local governments can explain their communities andsupport services to interested filmmakers. Among the projects on offer areKenta Fukasaku's actioner Elle Is Burning!, Ichiro Sasaki's animation StraitJacket and Shuhei Nire's animation Legend of Young Wolf.

The long list of collaborative events and screeningsincludes the Nippon Cinema Classics section, the Tokyo International FantasticFilm Festival, now in its 21st edition, and the Akkihabara-Enta Matsuri, aneight-day festival devoted to anime, comics, games and other entertainment inAkihabara --Tokyo's Mecca of "otaku" culture.