From the YIDFF Office

2016-11-17 | Report: “My YIDFF!—Potato Stew Party”

A hearty thanks to all of you who joined us for a friendly afternoon of discussion about the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. We opened the floor to five hours of free talk about the past and future of YIDFF—all comments invaluable to us, the staff. Some of you were repeat volunteers, some had never attended the festival before, some were film fans interested in getting involved some more. The different thoughts and experiences that you shared with us will be weighed carefully as we begin to plan YIDFF 2017. We promise to maintain our vision of the YIDFF as an entertaining event for locals as well as the world’s visitors, as well as a festival that continues to challenge and experiment.

Kusakabe Katsuyoshi (YIDFF Yamagata Office)


2016-11-17 | Report: “Filming 3.11: Accumulated Layers of Small Stories”

This year’s screening and discussion hosted by YIDFF’s 311 Documentary Film Archive welcomed a large turnout despite it being a five-hour long event on a chilly Sunday afternoon. The audience was committed, traveling long distances to attend, some from Sendai and even Tokyo.

After the screening of Anohi o ikita watashitachi—daigakusei ga kiku shinsaitaiken, its student filmmakers joined three panelists on stage to discuss the film. The debate included sharp criticism from a survivor of the 2011 tragedy, and urged deep thought on the difficulties of conveying the experience of a catastrophe to others, and the role of the audiovisual media with its limitations. Yamauchi Hiroyasu, curator at Rias Ark Museum of Art, spoke about the importance of audiences giving thought to who a film was made for, and filmmakers to contemplate who their audiences are. He also emphasized the role of artistic expression and discussion in connecting with memory and sensory impressions, if fiction and nonfiction films are to be used effectively in hazard education. Suzuki Mikiko provided observation from her field work with disaster survivors in Koriyama, that their sense of today’s reality differs from what official sources are putting out. Sociologist Kanebishi Kiyoshi spoke about the interviewers’ responsibility in conducting research, and the importance of continuing to look at the subconscious and sentiments of survivors, as embodied in ghost stories, dreams, and such.

So now I turn to the mirror and ask: who does the documentary film archive serve and what should its role be? I am hoping to continue thinking about this through further discussion with experienced professionals from various fields.

Hata Ayumi (YIDFF Yamagata Office)