From the YIDFF Office

2017-11-19 | YIDFF 2017 Ended: Thanks to Everyone Who Made the Festival Happen!

It’s now nearly a month since YIDFF 2017 ended. The films of colorful diversity, the many guests who traveled here from afar, the incredible audience, the rooted and profound conversations that took place . . . When I think back on the exhilarating eight days of fever, I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness that we’re now back to the everyday routine. A heartfelt thank you to those who came from around Japan and overseas, to the filmmakers and jurors, the countless friends who supported this festival edition in so many ways, and the volunteers who have been the pillars of its organization. I hope that the festival, again this year, provided you with irreplaceable moments of encounter with films and people, and that it will remain in your memories, together with impressions of Yamagata’s early autumn.

At this year’s event, a total of 161 films were screened, with 107 Q&As and discussion sessions, recording a festival attendance of 22,089. Films by masters and emerging filmmakers were shown side by side in the International Competition; New Asian Currents continued to swish and twirl in rich world views and a voracious appetite for new forms of expression; Rare and delightful gems were introduced in the programs “Africa Views” and “Resonant Bodies—Fredi M. Murer Retrospective;” When illness kept her from attending, Lebanese filmmaker Jocelyne Saab took to skype to attend her post-screening meeting with the audience; The program “Politics and Film: Palestine and Lebanon 70s–80s” was an inspiring crowd-pleaser; The forum for free and active exchange “Yamagata Rough Cut!,” and our series programs “Cinema with Us” and “Yamagata and Film” continued to intensify their investigations. “There’s so much going on, I don’t know what to choose!” was a common complaint. We were happy to notice more teenagers and people in their twenties among our audiences and volunteers this year. We welcome newcomers to the festival and hope to together continue to make YIDFF better and stronger.

Our next edition will be YIDFF 2019. As news of Yamagata City’s designation as UNESCO Creative City of Film hits the press, a tail wind blowing in our favor, we promise to continue in our endeavors to be a place of cutting edge artistry and friendly community. Two years from now, under the October blue skies of Yamagata, we look forward to seeing you again.

Kusakabe Katsuyoshi (YIDFF Yamagata Office)


2017-11-19 | Yamagata City designated as UNESCO Creative City of Film!

As reports have announced, the city of Yamagata has been accepted to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of film. Since 2013, when preparations to apply for the designation began in earnest, the city government has been cooperating with YIDFF and many citizen groups in various fields to highlight and promote activities that uphold the creative city ideals. We at YIDFF are reassured with the designation and are now emboldened to continue our work under the newly established role as a central institution in the city’s identity as a creative city.

We understand that the designation implies a recognition of the city’s active involvement in community building through film culture, and that in particular, YIDFF’s role was acknowledged: its history since 1989, its ideals, the originality of our program, and the multi-faceted, engaging, and long-serving participation of citizens. The UCCN admission was made possible thanks to each one of you who helped build up and sustain this invaluable film festival. We extend our sincere thanks to you all.

The Creative City idea upheld by UNESCO refers to a city that takes the creative activities of culture and arts as a driver for sustainable development. The Creative Cities Network is an international partnership among cities that will share with and support each other in these activities. The designation itself is not the goal, but rather a beginning for Yamagata City to challenge and push itself anew, endorsing culture and the arts, with film at the core. Tasked with this vision for sustainable activity leading to the future, we at YIDFF pledge our efforts that Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival will continue to bring outstanding films together from around the world, and maintain itself as a steadfast platform representing multi-culturalism and diversity. We appreciate your unchanging backing for our work.

(YIDFF Yamagata Office)