Yamagata Dojor








The Yamagata Documentary Dojo is a 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. 7 to March 3, 2024 (25 nights)
STAY: 23 nights in Hijiori Onsen, Yamagata / March 1 – 3 in Yamagata City


(a) One team of two Asian-based filmmakers (director/editor, director/producer, etc)
(b) One team of Japan-based filmmakers or two Japan-based filmmakers



= An intense four-day workshop with mentors and peers, one-on-one meetings with mentors, time and space (surrounded by snow) to think and review your own project.


= Two-way airfare (economy class) between filmmakers’ airport and Japanese airport, travel within Japan.


= Basic accommodation in a Japanese-style inn (private single room, shared bath/WC) in Hijiori, simple hotel (single room) in Yamagata City. Local breakfast and dinner provided for the first week. 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.


++ This year there will be a fee for participating fellows of 500 USD per person. If you are unable to afford this or have no support programs in your country to apply to, please consult the organizer.


PROVISIONS for (b): See https://forms.gle/reeqCkPM5nkApJvC8




= 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 3-4 international mentors who are from the front ranks of documentary today. The workshop consists of masterclasses, group discussions, and mentoring. There will be optional walks in the snow and hot spring soaks for relaxation and inspiration.


= 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. Each fellow can make a video portrait (of 1-3 minutes) of a local person they met during their stay, to share as a gift to the community. This is the video series “Faces Yamagata” https://ddcenter.org/facesyamagata/


= At the end of their stay, the fellows will be required to take part in public 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 道場: 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 Way” and “the Place” 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 2025. https://www.yidff.jp/index.html.en




1. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 1, 2023 (10:00 Japan time) through this form:


2. If you would like to ask someone for a letter of recommendation, please use this form:


3. Please upload and create an online link of a self-recorded video introducing yourself and why you want to take part in this program (less than 3 minutes). You can either appear together with your team member, or each record separate videos. Share the link(s) in the application form.


4. 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.


5. Results will be notified by mid-December 2023.




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


Supported by
Society for the Administration of Remuneration for Public Transmission for School Lessons



With the Assistance of:
Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (NPO) and other partners