TIFFCOM, the film rights market that accompanies the Tokyo International Film Festival, is to be held entirely in virtual or online form this year.
Market organizers announced the change on Monday. The market will keep its previously announced dates Nov. 4-6.
“TIFFCOM2020 was originally intended to be held in conjunction with the face-to-face content market, but we shifted online in order to ensure the safety of participants. We aim to further enhance our online services to meet your needs,” they said on a statement.
They said that the market will consist of four online components: virtual sales booths, complete with posters, displays and other seller information; business matching services, powered by search and a recommendation engine; on-demand film screenings; and online seminars and events.
At the beginning of this year, the market announced that it would relocate from the unpopular Ikebukuro venue to a new hotel site closer to the festival hub in Roppongi. In April, organizers announced the addition of gap financing function, and in early August they confirmed that most of the market would run as an in-person event with only seminars held online.
Tokyo’s coronavirus situation has not become easier in the intervening month, and in line with other sales events, organizers now think it wiser to drop the market’s physical component.
Last month organizers of the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Tokyo FilmEx festival said that they would this year collaborate to hold a single event Oct. 31-Nov. 9. It would be held with live audiences, but due to current Japanese travel restrictions, very few foreign visitors would be able to attend.
“As of now, we think it is extremely difficult to invite guests from Europe and U.S. territories,” a festival spokesman told Variety. “As for neighboring countries in Asia, there are still possibilities depending on the virus situation.”