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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tokyo Film Festival Opens with Green Carpet

The 21st Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) opened Saturday with a Green Carpet welcome ceremony to celebrities and film stars in the hope of conveying the message of environmental protection.

Hong Kong Director John Woo and cast including actor Tony Leung of his Chinese ancient epic Red Cliff, which will open the screening section of the film festival, walked with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso to inaugurate the event.

Hollywood actress Julianne Moore also appeared with her Japanese co-star Yoshino Kimura, for the thriller "Blindness."

Fifteen films will screen in the competition section for the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix, including two Chinese works, "Claustrophobia" directed by Ivy Ho and "Super Typhoon" by Feng Xiaoning.

A number of other works, for instance Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's popular patriotic epic "Assembly", will be shown in a wide range of sections to feast movie fans. Walt Disney's animation "Wall-E" will close the curtains of the festival.

Organizers of the 21st TIFF, scheduled for Oct. 18 to 26, declared that this year's event will highlight several new activities with ecological themes.

Those activities include a screening section specially dedicated to movies on environmental protection and a symposium focused on the environment.

Japanese actress Yoshino Kimura was inaugurated as the "Green Ambassador" of the film festival, and a new award will be given to an outstanding new film that gives due consideration to nature, the environment and ecology.

U.S. actor Jon Voight will serve as the president of the jury. Other members of the jury include Japanese scriptwriter Koji Takada and Chinese director Huo Jianqi.

Organizers announced earlier the festival's Akira Kurosawa Award, which is to honor distinguished personalities in the film industry, will go to Nikita Mikhalkov, the award-winning Russian filmmaker and Chen Kaige, a leading figure in Chinese cinema.

The TIFF, established in 1985, aspires to be recognized as one of the four best film festivals in the world - in the same league as Cannes, Venice and Berlin, which now stand at the summit of themore than 2,600 international film celebrations. However, it faces stiff competition from neighbor Busan of Republic of Korea.

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