Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Patrick Brzeski on November 1, 2020.
The Tokyo International Film Festival kicked off its 33rd edition Saturday with an abbreviated red carpet and a series of photo ops featuring Japanese stars separated by plexiglass dividers. Representatives of the global film community, meanwhile, including Robert De Niro, Christopher Nolan and Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux, beamed into the event via a series of video messages wishing the festival well amid the challenges of COVID-19.
Local film figures turned out in force for the opening ceremony, reflecting organizers’ determination to forge ahead with a grandly staged physical event despite the myriad health and safety restrictions that have made the 2020 festival a downsized, mostly domestic occasion.
“Since spring, we’ve been contemplating whether or not to hold the festival due to the pandemic,” said Tokyo’s festival chairman Hiroyasu Ando. “I’m deeply moved to see so many of you here today for our opening ceremony.”
Said Nolan, via video: “The fact that in these challenging times you’ve found a way to honor and enjoy watching films on the big screen is a source of inspiration to myself and other filmmakers around the world.” …