• Films
  • Main sections / Programming Director
    Main sections

TIFF's Main Sections

TIFF will show a variety of excellent films from around the world in nine main sections.


TIFF’s principal section and the highlight of the film festival, Competition showcases feature films that were completed after January 2021. Fifteen films from around the world were selected for screening at the festival. The International Competition Jury of five international cineastes will award the Tokyo Grand Prix, Special Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Artistic Contribution. The winners will be announced at the Closing Ceremony.

Asian Future

This year's Asian Future motto is “From Asia to the world! From Asia to the future!” This year marks the ninth edition of the section since its inception at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival in 2013. Asian Future is a competitive section that features up-and-coming Asian directors who have directed no more than three feature-length films. The top film will be awarded the “Asian Future Best Film Award.” Two Japanese films have been selected this year. All ten films competing in the section will have their highly anticipated world premiere.

Gala Selection

Gala Selection premieres the latest films ahead of their Japanese release. Ten films will be showcased this year to bring additional excitement to the festival. These include much-talked-about films in international film festivals around the world, the latest films from internationally renowned auteurs, and entertainment films that were massive hits in their home countries.

World Focus

World Focus presents notable works from various international film festivals and the latest films that have yet to be released in Japan. The section also showcases Spanish, Central American, and South American films in collaboration with the Latin Beat Film Festival.

Nippon Cinema Now

Nippon Cinema Now will select from Japanese releases this past year, films it deems imperative to introduce to international audiences. This year's Nippon Cinema Now will be showcasing the works of Yoshida Keisuke, a filmmaker who has churned out an array of notable works in recent years and who is anticipated to earn high acclaim abroad as well.

Japanese Animation

This year's keyword for the Japanese Animation Section is "Onko-chishin" — respect the past, create the new. In a retrospective presentation, the Section will look back on the works of the late great animator Otsuka Yasuo, whose career began when Japanese animation was still in its infancy. Otsuka passed away in March this year. Another pillar of the section will be "Seeing 2021 Through the Main Character" in which we will investigate what themes the latest animated works are attempting to portray. The Tokusatsu Section will feature the "KAMEN RIDER" series, which now boasts of a 50-year history. Three seminal "KAMEN RIDER" works of the Showa and Heisei era will be presented in special screenings as part of the series' 50th Anniversary Project.

Japanese Classics

This year, Japanese Classics will showcase the 4K restoration of "The Family Game" to commemorate a decade after filmmaker Morita Yoshimitsu's passing. Also to be showcased are 4K restorations of three films by Tanaka Kinuyo, who was a renowned actress and a pioneer female director in Japanese cinema.


The Youth section delivers opportunities for young boys and girls to experience the wonders of cinema. In "TIFF 2021: Teens Meet Cinema" junior high school students are given a limited amount of time to make a film, which will be showcased on the screen. "TIFF-Children" will be screening silent classics with live performances. In "TIFF-Teens", the section will select from a roster of highly acclaimed international film festival entries to showcase youth-focused films that are sure to inspire the participating high school students.

TIFF Series

TIFF Series is a section that brings to the screen among the best series produced for television broadcasting and streaming services before their release in Japan.

Programming Directors
Programming Directors

Ichiyama Shozo

Born in 1963. Placing his producing base in Shochiku Company, Limited and Office Kitano Inc., Ichiyama mainly produced works by the foreign filmmakers. His major films included Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "Flowers of Shanghai" (1998), Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winning director Samira Makhmalbaf's "Blackboards" (2000), and Cannes Film Festival Best Screenplay winner "A Touch of Sin" (2013) directed by Jia Zhangke. He was also in charge of selecting films for the Tokyo International Film Festival from 1992 to 1999. In 2000, he launched the Film Festival Tokyo FILMeX and served as the director. Since 2013, he has been serving as a visiting professor in the Tokyo University of the Arts, Graduate School of Film and New Media. He is the recipient of the 2019 Kawakita Award. He was appointed Programming Director of the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2021.

Ichiyama Shozo
Senior Programmer

Ishizaka Kenji

Born in 1960. Ishizaka began critiquing Asian and documentary films after majoring in film studies in Waseda University's Graduate School. He planned and managed an Asia Middle-East Film Festival Series from 1990 to 2007 for the Japan Foundation. Ishizaka has been serving as Asian Section's Programming Director for TIFF since its 20th edition in 2007. He has been serving as Senior Programmer since 2020. He concurrently holds the position of the professor and dean of the Japan Institute of the Moving Image. He has written several books including "Dynamic Southeast Asian Cinema: Multicultural, Transboundary and Solidarity" published by Ronsosha Co., Ltd.

Ishizaka Kenji
Japanese Animation Section Programming Advisor

Fujitsu Ryota / Animation Critic

Born in 1968 in Shizuoka prefecture. Originally a newspaper reporter and weekly magazine editor, Fujitsu started writing about animation in 2000. Fujitsu’s works include books such as "Anime no Rinkaku" (Seidosha), "Anime to Senso" (Nihon Hyoronsha), and "Channel wa Itsumo Anime" (NTT Publishing). He serves as lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University.

Fujitsu Ryota
Selection Committee Members for the 34th TIFF
*Alphabetical order

With the support of external experts with a wide range of knowledge, connections, and diverse values, the films to be showcased this year were selected based on decision by consensus under a committee system.

Ando Kohei Emeritus Professor at Waseda University

Ichiyama Shozo TIFF Programming Director

Ishizaka Kenji TIFF Senior Programmer

Kimbara Yuka Journalist

Sekiguchi Yuko Journalist

Official Partners