2000-01-06 | The Sixth Festival Ends in Success

  From October 19th-25th, 1999, the 6th Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival was held in Yamagata City. Beginning with the Opening Ceremony on the night of the 19th, this film festival was supported by volunteers and staff, who welcomed a great number of foreign and Japanese guests before the festival finally drew to a successful close.
  Beginning with the program of International Competition, the festival had over 10 programs being screened at 8 locations, with a total of 188 works being shown. When speaking about modern documentary film, the existence of video documentary is impossible to ignore. Along with that trend, this film festival presented more than 40 percent of its films in video form.
  In this issue, we will have information about the film festival winners, as well as comments by the judges, changes in films screened and guests who attended, the number of films screened and film festival guests, etc.
  The next film festival will be held in 2001. Looking towards opening the 21st century with a suitable film festival, we would like to examine various possibilities. We thank you very much for your continuing help and cooperation!

YIDFF'99 Prize Winners

Prizes for the International Competition
Jury: Jean-Louis Comolli, Amos Gitai, Haneda Sumiko,
Stanley Kwan, Nelson Pereira dos Santos

The Grand Prize (The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize)

The jury members would like to recognize the originality and the audacity of the director, who, with a great frankness, confronts his own parents, makes us aware of their feelings, their emotions, and their complexity. He makes use of all the means of cinema to reunite in a film those that have been set apart in life.

The Prize of Excellence (The Mayor's Prize)
BELFAST, MAINE Dir: Frederick Wiseman

With this Special Prize, the Jury members would like to salute the work of Frederick Wiseman, and particularly in this film, the capacity of the filmmaker to portray an American town, through the daily life of its inhabitants. Their experiences, their works and their preoccupations are described with a very high sensibility and a very sharp sense of hearing and observation. Those are the very qualities which characterize the work of this documentary filmmaker.

Special Prize of Jury

Following the fragile and magical thread of music, the director makes us discover the hidden face of our cities: the universe of the exiles, the political refugees, clandestine immigrants, all of which are shown here with courage and tenderness. Through their difficult destinies, we are enlightened about the situation of the world at the end of the 20th century.

Runner-up Prize


New Asian Currents Awards
Jury: Nakano Rie, Lin Xu-dong

Ogawa Shinsuke Prize

The question posed by the director is a personal one, but is at the same time presented as a universal problem belonging to all of us: "How to face oneself and how to interact with others." In Asia today, where relationships between people are constantly undergoing change, this is a particularly urgent theme.

Awards of Excellence

One face of contemporary China, well-depicted through the plight of the main character. The director succeeded in creating a close relationship with the protagonist and brought forth a certain candidness.

OLD MEN Dir: Lina Yang Tian-yi

Old men who are proud of their having constructed China as it is today, find themselves completely ignored by their children's generation. The filmmaker depicts them as if a part of a greater natural phenomenon, as they reach the end of their lives in hesitation while griping about their fate. The human connection between the filmmaker and her subjects is striking.

Special Mentions
Dir: Ditsi Carolino, Sadhana Buxani

ANNYONG-KIMCHI Dir: Matsue Tetsuaki

Jury: Marcel Martin, Nelson Hoinef, Tanaka Chiseko

DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE Dir: Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini

FIPRESCI has awarded its prize to DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, by Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini, for its convincing way of displaying the fight of women for their dignity and happiness.

Special Mention
THE NEW GOD Dir: Tsuchiya Yutaka

For its innovative way of discussing ideological issues and values in contemporary Japanese society.

Jury: Nick Deocampo, Jimmy Choi, Araki Keiko

WHITE Dir: Hirano Katsuyuki

For the personal epic journey of a filmmaker to achieve his dream and ambition through strong will and determination without losing his sense of humor and his dedication to apply the power of documentary in his personal struggle.

Special Mentions
ANNYONG KIMCHI Dir: Matsue Tetsuaki

For the fresh vision of a beginning filmmaker in making a film about the discovery of his own identity filled with honesty and a sincere effort to create a dialogue between Asian cultures.

I LOVE (080) Dir: Yang Li-zhou

For the portrayal of a life that starts to lose its sanity in the face of pressures that come both from society and family and how one's personal commitment to show life, no matter how bleak, can help us gain understanding of the relations between self and society.

Citizens' Prize
Citizens' Prize, supported by Yamagata City volunteer groups, was decided by the audience's poll. 14 IC films are eligible this time.


The number of films shown & attendance figures
The number of films shown (attendance figures in each program)

International Competition...4 (6,886)
New Asian Currents...48 incl.35 videos (2,940)
[NAC Special Program]
Case Study: Full Shot & Cinema Juku Spreading the Filmmaking Movement
.....................17 incl.17 videos (711)
Filming - Screening - Changing Video Activism in Japan and Korea
......................9 incl. 7 videos (721)
Jurors for International Competition...5 (759)
A Joris Ivens Retrospective...31 (2,528)
World Special Program...23 incl. 14 videos (1,993)
Yanagisawa Hisao Retrospective...17 (815)
Ogawa Productions Program...4 (254)
Japanese Panorama...8 incl. 5 videos (604)
Opening Ceremony...1 (562)
Closing Ceremony.... (503)
[Screenings with the supports of:]
YIDFF Network Screening...5 incl. 4 videos (100)
Classic Japanese Film Screenings...6 (1,224)
                    188 incl. 82 videos (20,600)

Additions & Changes to the Program
YUMIKA and HOKKAIDO BICYCLE TRILOGY, directed by Hirano Katsuyuki, were added to the YIDFF Network Extra Screening. PROJECT 19 (World Special Program), directed by Sergei Loukianchikov, was screened on video, not on film. TRAVEL NOTEBOOK (Joris Ivens Retrospective) was not screened due to unavoidable circumstances.

Guest Participants
139 guest participants (including 91 from overseas)
*There were some guests listed in the guest list from the last issue of YIDFF News who could not attend.
International Competition: Zhang Yuan, director of CRAZY ENGLISH; Kim Longinotto, co-director of DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE; Sigve Endressen, director of LIVING AMONGST LIONS.
New Asian Currents: Anurag Singh, co-director of HOW DO I SURVIVE, MY FRIEND!; Neeraj Suji, producer of AN AUTUMN FABLE; Rajiv Mehrotra, producer of A SEASON OUTSIDE; Ron Puyundatu, director of JAKARTA STOCK SHOTS: NO. 7 (TRK); Auraeus Solito, cast of RETURN TO THE TRIBES; Xiao Bin, cast of BOYS FOR BEAUTY; Lina Yang, director of OLD MEN; Zhu Chuan-ming, director of BEIJING COTTON-FLUFFER.
World Special Program: Peter Wintonick, director of CINEMA VERITE

American filmmaker Robert Kramer passed away on November 10 in France because of meningitis. He helped founded the radical filmmaking collective Newsreel during the late sixties in the wave of anti-Vietnam War activism. Then, as a leading American leftist independent filmmaker, he continued his political critique of contemporary society in cinema. In the eighties he moved to Paris but his vision toward the society did not change.
Kramer's film ROUTE 1 was screened as one of the International Competition films at the YIDFF'89 and he was a juror for the IC at the YIDFF'97.
When the YIDFF'97 Special Invitation Film, MOTHER DAO, THE TURTLELIKE and his own work, GHOST OF ELECTRICITY (shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival) ran into censorship problems, he led the protest, questioning the lack of freedom of speech.
We thank him deeply for his contribution not only to the YIDFF, but also the film world and we pray that he rests in peace.

YIDFF Organizing Committee Office (Phone: 023-666-4480)
e-mail: info@yidff.jp