The COVID pandemic has forced people around the world into one of the most stressful, challenging periods in history. The film industry is no exception: production has been mostly halted, movie theaters have been closed, new film releases continue to be postponed, many film festivals have been postponed or canceled, and the oppressive uncertainty of the situation is disheartening.
We at the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) have grappled with the decision to begin accepting submissions as planned despite these difficult circumstances, and have concluded that there is now all the more reason we should open the call for entry to filmmakers around the world. We believe film festivals are places where people in the industry and film fans together can share the joy of watching films, places where filmmakers have opportunities to interact and inspire each other, and places where emerging creators are recognized, rewarded and given greater exposure to thrive. So we would like to keep our lights on, to help people can find such a wonderful place.
Of course, one absolute condition of holding the festival is that we can guarantee the safety of our audiences, filmmakers and staff.
Therefore, if this condition cannot be guaranteed as the pandemic situation continues to transition in the future, we will consider various options including postponement and cancelation without hesitation. But for now, we fervently hope that all the hardships of medical workers and others on the frontline fighting against disease and all those enduring this difficult situation will be rewarded and the situation will be settled down before the film festival starts at the end of October.