2006-03-29 | Changes in the Festival Organization and Management


The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival was created in 1989 to commemorate the 100th-year anniversary of the incorporation of Yamagata City. Since then, the Festival has been held every two years, jointly sponsored by Yamagata City and the YIDFF Organizing Committee.

Starting from April 2006, the YIDFF Organizing Committee will become independent from Yamagata City, the primary management body until now, and begin management of the Festival as a nongovernmental organization.

Nongovernmental film festival management was once considered by the Committee after the first Film Festival, but preparations didn’t come together and the idea was shelved at the time. In 1995, the Yamagata Office hired specialized staff from the private sector, to compliment the professional film-related duties handled by the Tokyo Office since the Festival’s start. There are now four full-time staff in the Yamagata Office, who manage the Film Festival while also handling specialized work related to film, gradually taking over what was previously run by city employees. In April 2005, staff member Miyazawa Hiraku became the YIDFF Organizing Committee’s Festival Director, a post previously held by the administrative director of the city government’s Cultural Promotion Section.

Following the ninth Festival in 2005, the Film Festival Office revived the proposal to run the Festival from the private sector, and the matter was considered by a small permanent committee comprised of members from the Organizing Committee. Various opinions were voiced by participants in the discussions: Some claimed a Festival independent from the city government would become able to proactively and swiftly handle duties, taking flexible approaches and ideas unhindered by standard government systems. Uncertainties were also expressed about securing sufficient funds for managing the Festival.

After several meetings, a decision was reached to create a new nongovernmental body at the end of March 2006, which would take over themanagement of the Film Festival from April 2006.

Based on this directive, the members of the permanent committee held discussions in preparation, and together with Yamagata City and the Film Festival Office, proceeded in planning a new organization.


The current YIDFF Organizing Committee will be dissolved on March 31, 2006.

On March 28, a general meeting was held to formally establish the new organization which will manage the Festival. The new organization will consist of the current permanent members with additional new members. YIDFF Organizing Committee head Tanaka Satoshi was selected as its chairman.

The Film Festival Offices will be located in Yamagata and Tokyo as before, and will be responsible for the daily operations of the Festival.

The address and contact information for the Festival remains the same. The organization’s name also remains “Yamagata International Film Festival Organizing Committee.”

Funds will be raised through the Organizing Committee’s own proactive efforts and subsidies from Yamagata City.


The new organization’s members aim to carry on the festival’s legacy and mission while gaining the support of a wider audience, and are committed to taking a more active approach.

Also, the new organization is moving ahead with preparations to form an NPO (non-governmental organization), which will provide more stability. We sincerely hope for your support and understanding.



Following is the declaration read at the general meeting held on March 28, 2006 to establish the new organization.

Prospectus for establishing the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee

Yamagata Prefecture has a vibrant history regarding cinema, including the use of films in school education immediately following World War II and a tradition of community-based independent film screenings.

In Yamagata City, too, numerous cinemas survived the decline in the film industry, and there is even a movie theater founded through the efforts of local citizens. Currently there are six cinemas with eighteen screens in the city, which has a population of 255,000 people.

Building on this foundation, the first Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival was inaugurated in 1989 as part of activities to commemorate the 100th-year anniversary of the incorporation of Yamagata City. Volunteers from communities throughout Yamagata Prefecture participated in managing thefestival, and the first step was taken in realizing a successful festival as a joint effort between citizens and the local government.

Since then the festival has been held every two years with support from numerous volunteers, and has been recognized for the private sector and local government’s cooperative efforts in managing the festival. Coupled with the impact of wonderful films from around the world, the film festival itself has earned high acclaim internationally. As a result, the festival has consistently served as a place for exchange between people from around the world and Yamagata citizens.

In taking over this historic international exchange program from the city and sustaining it under the auspices of nongovernmental leadership, this effort aims to contribute to healthy cultural city planning and international exchange, foster the next generation through visual media, and realize Yamagata as a city of visual culture.

The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee has been created as a nongovernmental organization to continue the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival with support and cooperation from Yamagata citizens and people involved in the film industry throughout Japan and overeas.

Representatives Tanaka Satoshi
Okubo Yoshihiko
Tomitsuka Masaki