Tokyo Film Festival: Julie Taymor to Head Jury

Veteran film, theater and opera director Julie Taymor has been set as the president of the competition jury at next month’s Tokyo International Film Festival.

Taymor (“The Lion King”) will head a small group that selects the winners from the 15 competition titles that unspool in Tokyo between Oct. 24 and Nov. 2, 2022. The other four members of the jury will be announced later.

Taymor is the second woman to head the jury in as many years and follows Isabelle Huppert in 2021. There was no competition in 2020 due to COVID. And in 2019, the jury was headed by China’s Zhang Ziyi.

The Kurosawa Akira Award is to be revived after also being put on hiatus since 2008. The award will be presented to a filmmaker who “is making extraordinary contributions to world cinema and is expected to help define the film industry’s future.” Previous recipients have included Steven Spielberg, Yamada Yoji and Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

The recipient will be announced at a later date. In conjunction with the award, TIFF will also screen world classics that Kurosawa Akira loved, including Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog) and The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Víctor Erice), under the title of ” Kurosawa Akira’s Favorite Films.”

“Ms. Taymor has directed not only musical theater but also many excellent films. She has a particularly strong connection with Japan, having studied Ningyo Joruri traditional puppet theater here as a student and later applying it to her own works. She is also a big fan of Kurosawa Akira and is the perfect fit as jury president this year, as we revive the Kurosawa Akira Award,” said Ando Hiroyasu, festival president. 

“The arts are the beacon that brings us out of the chaos, leading the way. In a darkened theater the images flickering before us draw us both deeply into and also out of ourselves, our isolated and single selves. Hold onto the film theaters, the palaces that bring us together to cross the boundaries of what we don’t know at all, what we think we know and what we have personally experienced. Become the lives and loves of others and let them inspire and torment you,” said Taymor in a prepared statement.

The festival’s full line-up will be announced on Sept. 21.

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