From the YIDFF Office

2013-12-17 | YIDFF 2013 in Numbers

Thank you very much for your support in making the YIDFF 2013 a success.

During the festival week from Oct 10 to 16, we screened 212 films in total, welcomed a total of 22,353 festival-goers, 238 festival guests, 278 press and industry people, 390 volunteers.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who attended from around Japan and abroad, as well as the many volunteers who lent their support.

The next edition of the YIDFF is scheduled for October 2015. We will announce the open call for YIDFF 2015 entries next year.

(YIDFF Yamagata Office)


2013-12-17 | YIDFF 2013 Report: Yamagata University Special Program “East and Central European Documentary Films after the End of the Cold War”

In addition to the YIDFF2013’s main program, there were various screening events organized by partner institutions during the festival week. The screening and discussion program, “East and Central European Documentary Films after the End of the Cold War” presented by Yamagata University between Oct 12 and 14, received a large audience. The project’s coordinator Prof. Yamazaki Akira from The Faculty of Literature and Social Science at Yamagata University, looks back on the event:

Upon the opening of the YIDFF 2013, we held a three day screening and discussion event during the festival week to commemorate the publication of our book, The World after the End of the Cold War in Documentaries: Russian, German and East European Studies and the Role of Documentary Film Archive (Yamagata University Press, 2013, published in Japanese only). We screened 6 outstanding documentaries from Eastern and Central European countries, including the Hungarian documentary Stubborn Dreams (1989; YIDFF ’91 The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize) and the Polish The Siberian Lessons (1998; Cinema du Reel ’99 Grand Prix).These screenings were accompanied by lectures on documentary filmmaking practices in each country and its respective social and cultural contexts by three experts of the region.

1989, the year YIDFF started, was also the year the Revolutions of Eastern Europe broke out. That might have been a part of the reason why two excellent docs from the region, Latvian The Crossroad Street (1988) and Hungarian Stubborn Dreams, won the Grand Prize at the first and second editions of the YIDFF respectively. In fact, Eastern European documentaries had been an important part of the YIDFF selection and line-ups throughout the 1990s.

Lectures given by the three researchers indicated that the current situation of documentary filmmaking in the three countries, Poland, Hungary and The Czech Republic, were totally different—in particular, it was truly interesting for me to learn the difference between Poland, where documentary filmmaking has been regarded as a significant cultural practice, and Hungary, where it was not very active. Many enthusiastic cinephiles and researchers from all over the country participated in these lively discussions.

Since these three countries joined the EU in 2004, it might be inappropriate now to continue to categorize them into as “Eastern European.” For instance, films such as AUTO*MATE (2009, Czech, screened at YIDFF 2009) should just be seen as “European” films. Regardless, I hope that filmmakers from the ex-Eastern European region will work hard and continue to show us real images of the countries in their own ways.

Yamazaki Akira (Professor, Yamagata University)