Ambitious construction plans are intended to cement Ikebukuro and the surrounding Toshima district of Tokyo firmly at the center of the Japanese film industry.
Plans unveiled at TIFFCOM on Wednesday as part of the Tokyo International Film Festival include the construction of two new complexes, housing 22 cinema screens in total. They are expected to be completed in 2020, ahead of the Olympic Games which will be held across the Japanese capital in the summer.
The plans were unveiled by Yukio Takano, mayor of Toshima, and Yasushi Shiina, director of TIFFCOM. Takano called them a plan for “Culture City of East Asia 2019 Toshima”.
The Grand Cinema Sunshine will feature 12 screens, 2,500 seats and all-laser projection. A cultural center, called Hareza, will be built in Ikebukuro, with 10 additional screens. Hareza will include several halls and stages for musicals, performing arts and cartoons.
The new facilities are intended for year-round use by local residents and visiting tourists, as well as to host the Japan Content Showcase and the Tokyo Anime Festival Awards. Cinema screens could potentially be made available to international buyers and sellers of TIFFCOM films.
But Shiina said the market will not budge from its current location at the Sunshine City Convention Center in Ikebukuro for the next two years.
The Sunshine City venue, first used by TIFFCOM in 2017, is unpopular with many executives, who criticized it for its low ceilings, high noise level, lack of daylight and bathrooms. exhibition on two levels. Foreign visitors also criticize the neighboring Prince Hotel for its cramped conditions.
Among the projects, the greening of the Toshima district through the creation of four new parks, with an area of ââ30,000 m2, which will host cultural events on weekends and public holidays. They will be connected to the center of Ikebukuro by a new electric bus service.
Roberto Stabile, head of the Italian film promotion organization ANICA, was also present at the launch event. He said he would return to Ikebukuro in early 2019 to sign a letter of cooperation between Anica, Toshima and the Japanese film agency UniJapan. Stabile said Italy and Japan are also working on establishing a bilateral film co-production treaty, but offered no timeline for its completion.