'Big Hero 6' to the rescue at new-look Tokyo film festival

Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:09am EDT
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By Chris Gallagher

TOKYO (Reuters) - Hello Kitty and Doraemon anime characters strutted their stuff on the red carpet on Thursday, as Disney's "Big Hero 6" kicked off a new-look Tokyo film festival that taps into Japan's love of animation.

The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 23 to 31, will hold special events alongside the main festival, including a "cosplay summit" and a Japanese food fair aimed at promoting Japan's cultural and content industries.

"Big Hero 6", Disney Animation's next big feature after last year's hit, "Frozen", centers on the bond between 14-year-old Hiro Hamada and the inflatable robot Baymax, as they and their friends battle a Kabuki-masked villain who has stolen Hiro's microbot technology.

The 3D comedy-adventure, which screened out of competition, takes place in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, a mash-up of San Francisco and Tokyo, and Japanese viewers will easily recognize the influence of Tokyo life and landmarks in the film.

"The film has such a strong Japanese influence. It really is a love letter to Japan," Don Hall, co-director of "Big Hero 6," told Reuters on the red carpet at Tokyo's Roppongi Hills.

"So to have it coincide with the Tokyo film festival, it's probably the perfect place to debut it," he said, explaining why the Tokyo festival was picked for the world premiere.

"Big Hero 6" is only the second animated film to open the Tokyo festival, and is the first Walt Disney animation movie to do so.

Other anime highlights are a section on the works of "Evangelion" animator Hideaki Anno, and "Super Mario" creator Shigeru Miyamoto will premiere in 3D his "PIKMIN Short Movies," based on Nintendo's Pikmin game characters.   Continued...

Directors of "Big Hero 6 " Don Hall (L) and Chris Williams (3rd L) wave with Japanese actress Miho Kannno (2nd L) as Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, John Lasseter (4th L), and the producer Roy Conli (3rd R), Japanese actor and son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Kotaro Koizumi (2nd R), and Disney Animation Studio Executive Vice President Andrew Millstein (R) attend the opening event of the Tokyo International Film Festival before the world premiere of their film "Big Hero 6 " in Tokyo October 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino