Home Arts & Leisure Red, Mendoza compete in the 34th Tokyo Int’l Film Fest

Red, Mendoza compete in the 34th Tokyo Int’l Film Fest

Four Filipino films to premiere in the festival in different categories

FILIPINO auteurs Brillante Mendoza and Mikhail Red will be competing in this year’s hybrid version of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) running from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8.

Mikhail Red’s Arisaka, an action thriller set in Bataan about a policewoman running from assailants after a witness under police escort is attacked, will be having its World Premiere at the festival. The film stars Mon Confiado and Maja Salvador.

This isn’t Mr. Red’s first TIFF rodeo as his police procedural-cum-coming-of-age thriller Birdshot won Best Picture in the Asian Future Category at the 2016 TIFF.

Arisaka, named after a World War II Japanese bolt-action rifle, will see its lead character retracing the steps of the Bataan Death March where 60,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were forced to march 106 kilometers to their deaths during the Second World War.

“It’s a Western based on a famous massacre that happened in the Philippines,” Mr. Red previously told Variety. The film was greenlit in 2019 and was completed despite the country’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and typhoons.

Meanwhile, Brillante Mendoza brings two films to the TIFF, Payback (Resbak) and Gensan Punch, with Payback competing in the main Competition section. It will be having its world premiere at the festival.

Payback is set in the backdrop of gang wars in the Philippines. It follows the story of a young bike thief who, being chased by police, asks the boss of his crime ring for help but gets the cold shoulder. The betrayal then spurs the thief to plan vengeance against his boss. The film stars Vince Rillon, Nash Aguas, Jay Manalo.

Arisaka and Payback will be competing against 13 other films from all around the world in the main competition section. The films will vie for five awards — Tokyo Grand Prix, Special Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Artistic Contribution. The winners will be announced at the closing ceremony on Nov. 8.

Gensan Punch, Mr. Mendoza’s second film at the festival, tells the true story of Japanese boxer Nao Tsuchiyama, a disabled athlete who refuses to let his artificial leg hinder his dream of becoming a professional boxer. The film stars Japanese actors Shogen and Minami Kaho and Filipino actor Ronnie Lazaro. The film will be shown in the Gala Selection.

The Gala Selection premieres the latest films ahead of their Japanese release. Ten films will be shown in the section and include “much-talked-about films in international film festivals around the world, the latest films from internationally renowned auteurs, and entertainment films that were massive hits in their home countries,” according to the TIFF website.

Rounding up the Philippine contingent for this year’s TIFF is Daniel R. Palacio’s The Brokers which will be competing against 10 films at the Asia Future section. It follows a real estate agent who clashes with local residents over land development. This is Mr. Palacio’s second full-length feature and stars JC De Vera, Maxine Eigenmann, and Joel Torre.

The Brokers is one of the films given a post-production grant by the Film Development Council of the Philippines which aims to enhance post-production services so that they meet international standards.

The Asia Future section is a competitive section that features up-and-coming Asian directors who have directed no more than three feature-length films.

The Tokyo International Film Festival, known as one of the premier film festivals in the region, runs from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8 via a hybrid online and on-ground format and will be holding physical screenings at theaters in the Hibiya-Yurakucho-Ginza area of Tokyo. For more information about the festival, visit https://2021.tiff-jp.net/.