Yatabe entered the film distribution and advertising business after working for the Industrial Bank of Japan (currently Mizuho Bank). He also has produced documentaries and managed the Festival du Film Français au Japon. Joining TIFF in 2002, he oversaw the Programming Division and the selection of films, as well as served as Programming Director for the Japanese Eyes section (17-25th TIFF) and from the 26th TIFF, he served as the Programming Director of Japanese Cinema Splash. In 2007, he assumed the position of Competition Programming Director for TIFF.
Ishizaka began researching and 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. He has been a Programming Director of TIFF since its 20th edition in 2007. He concurrently holds the position of the professor and dean of Japan Institute of the Moving Image. He has written several books including “Amidst the Sea of Documentary: Dialogues with Tsuchimoto Noriaki,” published by Gendai Shokan.
Ando, who in his youth worked with Shuji Terayama, is known for his refined and creative expressivity as a filmmaker. He is a global pioneer in incorporating Hi-vision techniques into filmmaking. His films have received numerous awards, including the Silver Maile Award at the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the International Electronic Cinema Festival in Montreux. His works are included in the collections of major art museums and film libraries in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and elsewhere. In both 2001 and 2005, Ando retrospectives were held in Paris. He is also a professor emeritus at Waseda University.
Tahira has had a 25-year career in film, since launching the Kinder Film Festival, the very first children’s film festival in Japan, in 1992. In 1994 he assumed the roles of both festival director and producer. The festival was later renamed the KINEKO International Children’s Film Festival in 2015 and moved to Futakotamagawa. The festival has now grown into the largest international children’s film festival in Japan. Since 2016, the festival has begun showcasing Japanese films for children of all ages at overseas festivals. Tahira also pioneered what he calls “live cinema,” screenings accompanied by live voice-over actors. These events now travel to various venues around the nation.
Hikawa is an animation and special effects researcher, as well as a Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of Global Japanes Studies, Meiji University. He graduated from Tokyo Institute of Technology. Hikawa has served as a jury member at the Japan Media Arts Festival, the Mainichi Film Awards and as a selection member of the Film Merit Category, The Bunka-Cho Film Awards. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan. For the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, he conducted a survey on special effects in Japan and wrote the “Guide to Japanese Animation: Robot Animation.” He recently authored “Hosoda Mamoru no sekai - kibou to kiseki wo umu anime-shon” (The World of Hosoda Mamoru: Animation Generating Hope and Miracles).