From the YIDFF Office

2012-10-12 | Hot and Deep Summer 2012: Documentary Dream Show—Yamagata in Tokyo

Thanks to all of the efforts and collaborations by filmmakers and the audiences who attended, Documentary Dream Show—Yamagata in Tokyo 2012 (DDS 2012) which kicked off on August 18th, finally came to a close after 5 weeks and about 100 films being screened. It ended up being a very long and “deep” film festival. We would like to use this space to show our gratitude. That said, summer 2012 was a very hot and long one; almost as if it were in tune with DDS . . .

DDS 2012, which invited guests from within and outside of Japan and organized a number of events, kicked off with the arrival of Ruthie Shatz, the director of YIDFF 2011 International Competition’s Robert & Frances Flaherty Prize winner The Collaborator and His Family. She was unable to come to Yamagata last year due to health issues, so the excitement of the reunion was overwhelming. 7 years since her previous visit to Japan, Ruthie took her time to come up to Yamagata for screenings and talk sessions, and was invited by a warm welcome wherever she went. It was during the production of her previous film Garden (YIDFF 2005 New Asian Currents) where she met a Palestinian informant who works for the Israelis. This man later became the subject for their film The Collaborator and His Family. Ruthie has a great deal of respect for those who live lives surrounded by violence and adversity but still strive to make life better, and The Collaborator and His Family has emphasized the inseparable relationship between these two elements, much like her previous film. We could feel the director's passion flowing out of her even during the talk events with Akira the Hustler and Yang Yonghee held at this year’s DDS .

“Neoneo meets!!,” a cosponsored event by documentary culture magazine “neoneo,” which was actually the magazine’s anniversary event as well, brought in many celebrities such as director Suwa Nobuhiro and photographer Ishikawa Naoki on stage, and many in the audience.

The director of Prison and Paradise, one of the films screened at YIDFF 2011 New Asian Currents, Daniel Rudi Haryanto came to Japan as well. While Prison and Paradise focused on a specific Indonesian problem, his next film will be based in Tokyo and he started filming as soon as he arrived in Japan. Around the same time, Finnish film producer Iikka Vehkalahati arrived in Japan to join the event “Iikka is Coming!.” He attended the exciting presentation/debate event “Workshop with Iikka,” where he, young filmmakers/presenters and audiences all demonstrated outstanding levels of concentration for over six hours. Changing the locale, the energetic debates continued even after the event had finished. It was definitely a week that made us look forward for the future.

Many directors and guests came out to join screenings of other programs such as New Asian Currents, New Docs Japan and Special Events. Every day was like a review or a preview of YIDFF, making it a week that allowed us to discover new things about films and documentaries.

Especially at “the Legendary Film Collective NDU and Nunokawa Tetsuro” program, there were a number of films that had rarely been screened together. It was appalling to see that what these films offered us were in sync with the problems we see today. NDU is a filmmaking collective created by individuals who question the role that Japan plays in its involvement with the rest of Asia, by rebelling against the existing framework of a “country.” They kept bringing themselves towards and attempted to go over “national borders,” and such attitude will sharply criticize the current difficult diplomatic situation between Japan and surrounding East Asian countries. DDS 2012 closed with a mighty blow from NDU and Nunokawa Tetsuro films. The hot summer has finally come to an end, and now our direction shall start to change towards YIDFF 2013. We hope that those who attended this year’s DDS will look forward to an event that will be even more energetic and “deep” at Yamagata.

Hama Haruka (YIDFF Tokyo Office)

Information on NDU screenings and related publication

  • The subsequent retrospective screenings of the works of Nunokawa Tetsuro and NDU will be held in Kobe Documentary Film Festival 2012 from Oct 19 at Kobe Planet Film Archive. For details please see: http://kobe-eiga.net/kdff/ (Japanese only)
  • A special catalogue full of information for the DDS 2012 NDU program (both in Japanese and English) is now on sale. Please contact Cinematrix:
    phone: +81-3-5362-0671 e-mail: mail@tokyo.yidff.jp
  • A new anthology book on NDU titled Moyuru Kaikyo (Channels in Flames) will also be published from Impact Shuppankai very soon!