From Toronto to Tokyo

Hibiya Cinema Festival screens films that made a splash in Canada

The festival audience watches My Beloved Cookbook (©2020 “My Beloved Cookbook” Film Partners)

Fans of film were in for a treat a couple of months back, as they could attend the fourth annual Hibiya Cinema Festival, held on October 22–29.

The event took place at Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, and included three main movie experiences offered throughout the festival: Park Cinema, Toronto Japanese Film Festival in Hibiya and Kinejun Library in Hibiya.


Of particular interest to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) community was the Toronto Japanese Film Festival in Hibiya, which was a popular part of the event last year. The third Toronto Japanese Film Festival was held earlier this year in Canada to showcase critically acclaimed Japanese films. Bringing it to Japan, the Hibiya Cinema Festival selected popular favorites from the event’s original lineup to screen in Tokyo.

During this part of the festival, films such as Hold Me Back, The Brightest Roof in the Universe, Ora, Ora Be Goin’ Alone, True Mothers and others were screened with English subtitles throughout the week at Hibiya Step Plaza. It was an excellent chance for Japanese and international residents alike to see Japanese films that have received praise domestically and overseas.

©2020 “Hold Me Back” Film Partners, ©2020 “The Brightest Roof in the Universe” Film Partners, ©2020 “Ora, Ora Be Goin’ Alone” Film Partners, ©2020 “True Mothers” Film Partners


Michihito Fujii
Director of The Brightest Roof in the Universe

On October 22, opening night, Michihito Fujii, director of The Brightest Roof in the Universe took part in a talk session before the screening of his film. He spoke about the challenges involved in production during the midst of the pandemic and his insistence on continuing to be able to continue making films even during these challenges. He also addressed his belief that The Brightest Roof in the Universe is a movie that audiences will be able to enjoy time and time again, seeing new things in it with each viewing.

Akiko Ohku
Director of Hold Me Back

The following day, Akiko Ohku, director of Hold Me Back, spoke before the screening of her film. Ohku is known for her critically acclaimed movies that feature female protagonists who are confronting contemporary dilemmas, and she shared a variety of fascinating behind-the-scenes insights with attendees. 

Members of the CCCJ community were there at the opening night to see parts of the show, and enjoyed the screening from special viewing seats.

The Hibiya Cinema Festival proved to be another great success this year, and fans of the silver screen are already looking forward to the next event in 2022!