Yamagata Doc Film Fest, report – day 3 and awards

My final day in Yamagata (October 12th) was a bit more relaxed than the previous two, the festival fatigue started to kick in and the nights spent talking & drinking at Komian did the rest. There were many movies I really wanted to see, Pedro Costa’s Horse Money, Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) by Abbas Fahdel, Ospina’s It all Started at the End and others. Unfortunatly all of them were screened around the same time in the afternoon, and I had to choose one, so finally I opted for Ospina’s, my personal way of completing the discovery of the Cali Group and the independent cinema of Colombia between the 70s and 80s. It All Started at the End is a long and absorbing work that goes back to the beginning of the movement, and using a mix of styles and images (footage, digital, mobile phone’s camera) tells the story of a group of friends and artists who revolutionised cinema in Colombia.

In the morning I attended the screening of a TV documentary (actually a mokumentary) made in 2006 by Mori Tatsuya and Murakami Kenji (edited by Matsue Tetsuaki) Documentary:  Truth or Lies「ドキュメンタリーは嘘をつく」A work that plays with and criticises the way non-fiction is usually planned and made on TV, funny at times but not always entertaining and cutting, this short film has nonetheless the quality of making the audience think and let them see what’s happening behind the camera. 


In the evening and as my final event for this edition of the festival, I decided to attend a symposium titled Creating a Space for Film, a discussion among six participants from different countries, Dwi Sujanti Nugraheni, Marta Rodríguez, Teng Mangansakan, Sakai Ko, Oki Hiroyuki, Carlos Gómez. Everyone of them brought and talk about his/her experience in creating a space for documentary, with indigenous people in Colombia for Marta Rodrigez and Carlos Gomez, in Indonesian schools with basically no budget for Nugraheni, in Sendai working with old people to find the still existing minwa (folklore in the oral tradition) for Sakai Ko, and in the Philippines in markets and basketball courts for Mangansakan. Very different stories and backgrounds, some governments opposing documentary like Indonesia, other supporting cinema like the Philippines, but everybody seemed to agree that what is fundamental and crucial is to build cinema and documentary literacy, through schools, workshops, festival and other activities. Without visual /media literacy there are no chances to have future generations of filmmakers and and audience capable of understanding and appreciating non-fiction cinema.

In conclusion, this year as two years ago, attending YIDFF was for me a really reinvigorating and fascinating experience, I didn’t see as many movies as I wanted to, but I as I wrote in the previous posts, there were some nice discoveries and above all I had the chance to meet, talk and exchange opinions with many filmmakers and film-festival people. The only downside to it is that I’ll have to wait two years until the next edition. See you soon Yamagata!

Today, October 14th the awards for this year festival were announced: 
The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize (The Grand Prize):

Horse Money Dir: Pedro Costa

The Mayor’s Prize:
The Pearl Button Dir: Patricio Guzmán

Awards of Excellence:
Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) Dir: Abbas Fahdel

Silvered Water, Syria Self-portrait Dir: Ossama Mohammed, Wiam Simav Bedirxan

Special Prize: 
Us women . Them women Dir: Julia Pesce

New Asian Currents Awards

Ogawa Shinsuke Prize:
Standing Men Dir: Maya Abdul-Malak

Awards of Excellence:
Snakeskin Dir: Daniel Hui

Each Story Dir: Okuma Katsuya

Special Mention:
Glittering Hands Dir: Lee-Kil Bora

A Report about Mina Dir: Kaveh Mazaheri

ARAGANE Dir: Oda Kaori

I Am Yet to See Delhi Dir: Humaira Bilkis

Citizens’ Prizes
Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) Dir: Abbas Fahdel

Directors Guild of Japan Award

My No-Mercy Home Dir: Aori



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