|The AND Fund
It’s been nine years since Korea’s Busan International Film Festival began supporting Asian documentary projects through the AND Fund. Inviting universities and banks to sponsor the fund, BIFF continues to give out 130 million won yearly to outstanding proposals. The amount each project receives (5,000 to 10,000 USD) is not much, but the recipients are also invited to the Busan festival for opportunities to network with film professionals who offer advice and assistance.
Further, film festival programmers around the world will keep an eye out for the AND Fund brand when previewing new films. At Yamagata, too, we have screened many AND Fund awarded films: They include, at YIDFF 2013, Tour of Duty, Boundary, and Tondo, Beloved.
Applications to the AND Fund are on a steep upsurge—this year we received over 100 non-Korean projects. The rise in documentary production overall is making competition tough for all ambitious filmmakers today.
I’ve just returned from four days in Seoul to discuss and select this year’s AND Fund recipients. It’s been almost a decade since our team of film festival organizers from China, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Japan first came together to form a network to support the production, distribution, and screening of excellent Asian documentaries. I plan to further continue my work with documentaries from Asia.
I have left the YIDFF Tokyo Office as Director and will now further contribute to YIDFF as member of the board. I’d like to thank you all for your generous support to our festival throughout the past 25 years and look forward to continued friendships and new collaborations in my new position.
|Noticiero #01—Following “Islands / I Lands, NOW—Vista de Cuba”
After a year-long trip in South American countries, I finally came back to Tokyo Office in April. This is the second part of my report, a short reflection about my days in Cuba.
Actually every day in Cuba passed in a flash—attending local festivals such as Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano and Muestra Joven to see films and get information on new film projects; browsing through books on documentary at Cinemateca de Cuba, a film preservation center which stores film prints, books, journals and catalogs and runs regular film screenings; and having meetings and interviews with filmmakers in my spare time. Through such busy days, I was able to sense the passion and enthusiasm of those filmmakers and producers for filmmaking, and discovered some highly-spirited creative projects.
Founder of documentary filmmaking collective Television Serrana Daniel Diez Castrillo had just published an autobiography Desde los Suenos (From Dreams) which was received well. Television Serrana, located in Sierra Maestra in eastern Cuba, started as a local TV production and became the first community media in the country. More than 500 of their programs have been produced, though have never been broadcast directly from local stations. Meanwhile in Cuba too, film festivals are the principal site for watching these kind of works. We screened one of their films, Bohío, at the YIDFF 2011. Thanks to the kind assistance of the film's director Carlos Y. Rodriguez, I visited the Television Serrana office and had a wonderful time with staff there, watching old and new films. Situated on top of the vast green mountains with fresh air, the office was a special place completely isolated from Havana and other major cities.
In fact, farmers in Sierra Maestra still live at the lowest levels in terms of social infrastructure, despite their contribution to the guerrilla war victory, the success of the Cuban Revolution, and their further support of the government by developing as a main production site of coffee beans. Now local people recognize that works produced by Television Serrana have played an important role to communicate their struggles to the central government, and it took a long time for the community to understand Television Serrana’s work. Only today have they become accepted by the community as full members.
Through exploring the deep Cuban documentary world, I encountered various other discoveries in film production in and outside Havana, for example, works by director Gustavo Pérez, who started production in the 1990s in Camaguey, central Cuba. Artisan-like directors like Pérez have kept a certain distance from young filmmakers in Havana who suddenly emerged from the triggering of market liberalization. They continue working ambitiously and creatively in their own place, despite limited resources and circumstances.