PHOTOS BY LIFE.14
Over the past two years, more than 2.5 million movie lovers have come to see films screened at the Hibiya Cinema Festival, which is organized in part by Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., Tokyo Midtown Management Co., Ltd. and Hibiya Area Management Association. This year, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, the festival was held on a smaller scale, but the audiences were no less enthusiastic.
The festival has a strong Canadian connection — one of the standout programs during the event features films that are screened with English subtitles at the Toronto Japanese Film Festival. In light of this link between Canada and Japan, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) decided this year to join the Hibiya Cinema Festival as a sponsor.
The opening night was October 16, and to mark the evening, governors and key members of the CCCJ came to a special reception, where they met with Hiroki Saitou, managing officer and general manager of the Hibiya Urban Planning and Development Department of Mitsui Fudosan, and Eisuke Toyokura, director and general manager of the Hibiya Management Department of Tokyo Midtown Management. Saitou, Toyokura and CCCJ Chair Neil van Wouw delivered short remarks at the gathering.
These were followed by a video presentation from Mitsui Fudosan that looked back at the cultural and architectural significance of the Hibiya area since the Meiji Period and moved forward to the present day, highlighting the significant projects that Mitsui Fudosan has developed, including Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, which are revitalizing the neighbourhood.
Following the reception, it was time to head down to the atrium of Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, where comfortable folding lounge chairs had been set up facing the large movie screen. The festival’s opening night movie was Maeda Construction Fantasy Sales Department, directed by Tsutomu Hanabusa. Before the screening of the movie, Hanabusa took part in a lively Q&A session, and declared that he was proud that his movie would also be screening in Toronto. In fact, the director hopes to one day be able to shoot a film in Canada.
The movie was a light-hearted look at a team within a construction firm that took on the project of creating a real-life estimate for a structure that originally appeared in the anime, Mazinger Z. It was a hit with the attendees, and after the film some CCCJ members with experience in architecture and computer graphics pointed out how true-to-life much of the material actually was.
The night was a great success, and an excellent way to mark the first time the CCCJ, Mitsui Fudosan, Tokyo Midtown Management and Hibiya Area Management Association had collaborated on this major cultural event for the Hibiya neighbourhood. We hope that it is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.