A-List Film Nerd is the Inspired Ambassador of the Tokyo Festival
Festival Ambassador for this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, Hashimoto Ai is an inspired choice for the role and not just because she is a leading actress who has starred in a hit TV series (“Amachan” ) and has worked with internationally renowned directors like Nakashima Tetsuya (“Confessions”) and Yoshida Daihachi (“The Kirishima Thing”).
She’s also a certified film enthusiast, who has proclaimed her love for everything from ‘pink’ (adult softcore) classics of the 1970s to low-budget independent films made by her contemporaries, which she sees in theaters, not. on his smartphone.
Now 25, her career dates back to 2009, when she made her screen debut as a basketball-loving deaf girl in Mori Ho’s “Give and Go.” Variety before the TIFF press conference,
Hashimoto said that since then she has seen opportunities open up in the world of Japanese cinema. “Anyone can make a movie now,” she said. “It could be an old man or an old woman or even an elementary school child. There has been less of a changing of the guard from a previous generation to a new one and more than a constant expansion of opportunity – that’s really important, I think.
Meanwhile, TIFF provided Hashimoto with a platform for her work, and in 2020 invited her to speak at a conference with Korean filmmaker Kim Bora. Did she accept the post of ambassador to repay the festival for past favors?
“There was a bit of that, yeah,” she says. “I have a strong link with the festival. They showed my films and I attended many screenings as a spectator. It has been a wonderful experience for me. So when I was asked to be an ambassador, my feeling was “OK, I will do it”. I’m looking for ways to make my own contribution (to the festival).
She has a strong interest, she says, in helping “the roots of cinema and traditional culture to develop and grow.” “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to do this,” she adds. “I hope to find out what I can do by listening to the people I meet at the festival.
Meanwhile, Hashimoto has expanded his own business into music, making waves in the media by singing tunes by singer-songwriter Ringo Sheena at a concert in Tokyo in May. “I love to sing, so I’m glad I can do it,” she says. “When I was playing, I felt like if I made a mistake, it was over for me. I was under that kind of pressure in every scene and it made me really tense and tired. But by singing, I can widen my field of expression. It also helps me relax so that I can act better. I was able to get closer to my ideal performance. It was a big plus for me. She did not say if she was planning to be TIFF’s first vocal ambassador, however.
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