Yamagata Documentary Dojo 2018
- 会場：蔵王温泉 松金屋アネックスほか 山形市内各所
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YAMAGATA DOCUMENTARY DOJO 2018
Oct. 24 – Nov. 19 (27 days)
Retreat in a foreign destination
Time away from the daily grind
Refresh perspectives and focus anew
Japanese master filmmaker Ozu Yasujiro wrote many of his successful scripts including Tokyo Story by spending months at a time in a seaside inn with his scriptwriter (and hundreds of bottles of sake). For documentarians, a compatibly important creative process in filmmaking would be the rough-cut editing stage, when constructing the film with assembled footage. Particularly in the digital era when filmmakers research, shoot, and edit their films by themselves, it is easy to lose perspective from the themes and materials they are so closely attached and enmeshed in.
The Yamagata Documentary Dojo is a 4-week filmmaker-in-residence program hosted in the city of Yamagata, in northern Japan. In the fall of 2018, two teams of filmmakers working on Southeast Asian documentary projects were invited to reside in a lakeside inn in the mountainous hot spring spa of Zao. The filmmakers arrived with all their footage and a rough-cut film. The idea was to use the retreat as an opportunity to open their minds in order to review their work from new perspectives. They were provided with access to 15,000 documentary titles in the Yamagata Documentary Library for reference and ideas, with curators on hand for discussion.
After a period of settling in, the program kicked off with a 4-day workshop which brought the participants together with Japanese filmmakers and international professional mentors. The workshop consisted of masterclasses, group discussions, and project mentorship. The group stayed together in a hot spring inn, isolated from the bustle of the city. After the workshop, mentors stayed on for four more days to work with the teams.
During the rest of the residency, the filmmakers took part in cultural activities in Yamagata. They attended locally organized film screenings, visited the local elementary and middle school, presented their own films to the public, and spent time with farmer poet Kimura Michio who had been responsible for inviting documentary Ogawa Shinsuke and his collective to Yamagata. At the end of the residency, the filmmakers took part in wrap-up presentations in Yamagata and Tokyo.
The accommodations (Matsukaneya Annex):
The hot spring resort area (Zao Onsen):
Some key words:
・Dōjō: A dojo is originally a hall or space for immersive learning in the martial arts or meditation. The term consists of two characters which mean “the Place” and “the Way” in Japanese.
・YIDFF: Yamagata is where the biennial Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF) has taken place since 1989. The oldest documentary film festival in Asia, it has historically served as the site for nurturing and inspiring Asian artists. It is highly acclaimed for its integrity and seriousness of purpose. Praised and trusted by world-renowned filmmakers, its history shows programming committed to representing the diversity of film cultures and serving as a place for meaningful exchange. The next edition is October 2019.
・Yamagata is a City of Film, as designated by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.