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29th Tokyo International Film Festival gearing up with 16 competition titles

From left, Daigo Matsui, Yu Aoi, Munetaka Aoki and Mamoru Hosoda attend a news conference to announce the lineup of the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), in Tokyo on Sept. 26, 2016. (Photo courtesy of TIFF)

Five world premieres will feature among the 16 films vying for the top prize in the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival beginning on Oct. 25 this year, festival organizers have announced.

    Organizers unveiled the full lineup of films at the festival on Sept. 26. The 16 films appearing in the competition section were whittled down from among 1,502 titles from 98 countries. The festival's International Competition Jury, announced the same day, will choose one film to take home the top award, the $50,000 Tokyo Grand Prix.

    This year two Japanese films are competing in the section: "Japanese Girls Never Die," directed by Daigo Matsui, and Kiki Sugino's "Snow Woman."

    Yu Aoi, who stars in "Japanese Girls Never Die," said in a news conference that Matsui had been nervous about whether his film would be selected, which made her nervous, too. She said she hoped people would enjoy it.

    "I think that many females in the audience will identify with the characters and have a memorable experience," she said.

    "Snow Woman," based on the namesake fable by Lafcadio Hearn (Yakumo Koizumi), is one of the five world premieres. The competition lineup also features five international premieres (films being shown outside their country of origin for the first time) and five Asian premieres.

    French director, writer and producer Jean-Jacques Beineix will preside over the International Competition Jury this year. Joining him on the jury are director Hideyuki Hirayama, actor Valerio Mastandrea, producer Nicole Rocklin and director Mabel Cheung.

    Over 200 films will be screened over the festival's 10 days, and some films will feature stage appearances and Q&A sessions.

    Anime director Mamoru Hosoda will be honored this year with screenings of his films under the title "The World of Mamoru Hosoda" in the Animation Focus section.

    "I'm a little bit embarrassed, because this is the first time that all my works have been shown in a retrospective. However, I am excited to watch these films together with an audience," he was quoted as saying.

    The festival this year runs from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3, at Roppongi Hills, EX Theater Roppongi in Minato Ward, and other theaters, halls and facilities in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

    Below is the full lineup of films in the Competition section and their directors:

    -- "7 Minutes" / Michele Placido / International Premiere

    -- "After You're Gone" / Anna Matison / International Premiere

    -- "Being Born" / Mohsen Abdolvahab / International Premiere

    -- "Big Big World" / Reha Erdem / Asian Premiere

    -- "The Bloom of Yesterday" / Chris Kraus / World Premiere

    -- "Die Beautiful" / Jun Robles Lana / World Premiere

    -- "The Fixer" / Adrian Sitaru / Asian Premiere

    -- "Japanese Girls Never Die" / Daigo Matsui

    -- "Mr. No Problem" / Mei Feng / World Premiere

    -- "Paris Prestige" / Hame, Ekoue / International Premiere

    -- "Quit Staring at My Plate" / Hana Jusic / Asian Premiere

    -- "Sami Blood" / Amanda Kernell / Asian Premiere

    -- "Shed Skin Papa" / Roy Szeto / World Premiere

    -- "The Silence of the Sky" / Marco Dutra / International Premiere

    -- "Snow Woman" / Kiki Sugino / World Premiere

    -- "Tramps" / Adam Leon / Asian Premiere

    For information on other films that will screen at TIFF this year, visit the official site at

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