Yamagata Documentary Dojo 2019

  • The Grant Program for Promotion of Cultural Collaboration
Grant Year
Fiscal Year 2019
Grant Amount
JPY 2,934,614
Country of Activity
Japan, Singapore

The Yamagata Documentary Dojo is a 4-week filmmaker-in-residence program hosted in the city of Yamagata, in northern Japan. Asian filmmakers working on documentary projects are invited to reside in a lakeside inn in the mountainous hot spring spa of Zao. The idea is to use the retreat as an opportunity to review their work from new perspectives. The program kicks off with a 4-day workshop which brings the participants together with Japanese filmmakers and international professional mentors. The group stays together in a Japanese-style inn, isolated from the bustle of the city. During the rest of the residency, the filmmakers focus on reworking their projects, while taking part in cultural activities with Yamagata children and people. At the end of their stay, they take part in wrap-up presentations in Yamagata and Tokyo. The filmmakers made three short films about their encounters in Yamagata under the series Faces, Yamagata. AIR partner Objectifs (Singapore) hosted a Japanese filmmaker in Singapore for 30 days in an exchange program.

Project Website: https://ddcenter.org/dojo/

Achievements of FY 2018 https://grant-fellowship-db.jfac.jp/en/grant/cc1804/
Achievements of FY 2014 https://grant-fellowship-db.jfac.jp/en/grant/pp1417/
Achievements of FY 2016 https://grant-fellowship-db.jfac.jp/en/fellow/fs1608/

From the Organizer

This project is about casting and matchmaking -- Talented Asian filmmakers and a rural Japanese town (Yamagata), both sides with huge potential but troubled by different obstacles, are set up together to share time. The results show that filmmakers find an environment where their projects blossom, and Yamagata citizens discover a connection to a larger world beyond. Hopefully the program can continue annually, giving birth to more films that inspire deeply with a universal outlook. Like fermenting miso, soy sauce, or sake, the process needs a stable base (a brewery) and funding in order to sustain itself. This will be the next challenge for the organizers.

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