Yamagata Dojor





The Yamagata Documentary Dojo is a month-long residency program for Asian filmmakers in a hot spring spa resort in the mountains of Yamagata, Japan. The retreat allows teams of filmmakers with documentary film projects the opportunity to work intensely on their rough cuts, deepen creative ambitions, and to network with Japanese and other international filmmakers. The residency is organized in cooperation with the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.


DATES:   Feb. 1 to March 1, 2023  (28 nights)
STAY:      Feb. 1 to Feb. 27 in Hijiori Onsen, Yamagata / Feb. 28 to March 1 in Tokyo



 a)  One team of two Asian filmmakers (director/editor, director/producer, etc)

 b)  One Japan-based filmmaker



= Two-way airfare (economy class) between filmmakers’ airport and Tokyo or Yamagata airport, travel within Japan to and from Hijiori Onsen.

= Basic accommodation in a Japanese-style inn (private single room, shared bath/WC) with local breakfast and dinner provided. Simple cooking facilities can be made available.

= Basic work studio provided per team.

= All other incidentals, local travel, living expenses should be covered by the fellows.

= Fellows are requested to buy their own travel insurance for illness and accidents.

= Fellows must have a passport that is at least 6 months valid after the travel dates.

= Fellows must be over 21 years old, in good health and have sufficient proficiency in English or Japanese language.



See http://ddcenter.org/


= After a period of settling in, the program kicks off with a 4-day workshop which brings the AIR fellows together with 3 Japanese filmmakers and professional mentors. The workshop consists of masterclasses, group discussions, and mentoring.

= During the rest of the residency, the filmmakers will be focusing on their film projects. During this period, the filmmakers will be asked to take part in some public events and activities with local people. The organizers propose that fellows make a video portrait (of 1-3 minutes) of a Yamagata person they met during their stay, to share as a gift to the community. 

= At the end of their stay, the fellows will be required to take part in end-of-residency presentations.


= This year’s hot spring village is the ancient Hijiori Onsen, renowned for baths with natural healing properties and 3-meter snowfall in winter.  https://hijiori.jp/en/

= Dojo: 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. One of the major documentary film festivals in Asia, it has historically served as the site for nurturing and inspiring Asian artists. 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 2023.     http://www.yidff.jp/index.html.en




1.Applications must be submitted by Nov 16, 2022 through this form: https://forms.gle/kuwJ5AqnVFqGhkbx6

If you would like to submit a letter of recommendation, (max. 2) please use this form: https://forms.gle/EcwWYqJ2sqRmE7s98


2.Please upload and create an online link of your self-recorded video introducing yourself and why you want to take part in this program (less than 3 minutes). You can share the link in the application form. 


3.Selection is based on portfolio and the film project to be worked on during the residency. Film projects in production or rough-cut stage are preferred. Finalists will be invited to online interviews. Early application is highly recommended.


4.Results will be notified by mid-December 2022.



While COVID-19 still poses a health risk, we believe that with cooperation of the participants, we will be able to host a physical program safely by following the Japanese government and health authorities’ recommendations. We ask participants and staff to follow guidelines during the program to ensure their safety. Given the development of the health situation, we will not hesitate to adopt changes in the program.



1.Filmmakers will retain copyright of all works developed or produced during the residency, and will allow Documentary Dream Center the right to screen it for non-commercial purposes in relation to the residency.

2.Documentary Dream Center has the right to use, without payment of any fee, the name, image, and voice in photographs, recordings, and interviews of the filmmakers during the residency.

3.We ask that Yamagata Documentary Dojo be acknowledged in the credits of the work developed or produced during the residency.

4.If the filmmakers do not complete the residency without valid reasons, the organizers reserve the right to recover partial or full costs as provided during the residency.

5.For all unforeseen issues, organizers and filmmakers will work to resolve differences upon mutual consultations in good faith.


For inquiries, contact: docs@ddcenter.org


The residency is organized by:

Documentary Dream Center  www.ddcenter.org

Daisan Yamada Bldg. 6F, 22 Aizumi-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0005 JAPAN

Director: FUJIOKA Asako  Email info@ddcenter.org  phone +81-70 5089 9203

With the Assistance of:

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (NPO); Tokyo Docs; and other partners