- International Competition
- The awards for the International Competition are given out among the fifteen documentaries selected for their excellence from around the world. The superior work is awarded the Robert and Frances Flaherty Award, named for the husband and wife team who cultivated and expanded the horizons of documentary film.
- New Asian Currents
- New Asian Currents introduces and supports the works of up-and-coming Asian documentaries without restrictions on format or length. The most promising work will be awarded the Ogawa Shinsuke Prize, created to carry on the spirit of Ogawa Shinsuke, the film director who was instrumental in the creation of the YIDFF and who put much of his energy into facilitating exchanges among Asian documentarists.
- Citizen’s Prize
- Awarded to the film which receives the highest number of votes from viewers on the questionnaires distributed during the festival.
The winners of the Grand Prize (The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize), the Prize of Excellence (The Mayor’s Prize), the “Runner-up” Prizes, the Special Prize and the Ogawa Shinsuke Prize receive an original trophy designed for YIDFF by sculptor Azuma Kenjiro. Born in Yamagata City, Azuma Kenjiro is active on an international scale from his base in Milan. The design is modeled on a handful of the bright yellow-green stalks of rice plants before harvest, one of the symbols of Yamagata City and Yamagata Prefecture.