A program that began with the very first YIDFF. Feature-length works were sought from around the world, and from the 1,155 entries emerges a stringent selection of 15 cinematic gems, richly varied and representing the vanguard of world filmmaking.
* Only films screened online are listed here. For a complete list of the program, please refer here.
New Asian Currents
We give you this year’s New Asian Currents program—eighteen gems in the rough that boldly carve out new ways of expression, inviting you to worlds captured and imagined by the filmmakers.
Perspectives Japan introduces films that depict issues related to Japan from unique perspectives. The five titles in this program include: a film that details the dangers of state power run amok, a film that weaves together memories of protest against the authorities in the 1960s, a film that crystallizes a decade of filmmakers’ contemplation since the earthquake and tsunami, a film that explores physical disability and modes of expression through filmmaking, and a film that listens carefully to personal memories rooted in the land. These works trace each filmmaker’s unceasing vision, which cannot be summed up simply by the word “Japan.”
Cinema with Us 2021
For the sixth festival in a row, we will offer a special program dedicated to the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, entitled Cinema with Us. This project began out of the strong desire from the festival programmers, who knew filmmakers on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the disaster ten years ago, to “take the first step of sharing through film the ongoing situation there and beginning to foster new connections.” Through sharing time with others, we experience not only each other but the past and the present, as well as the connections among more minute memories, offering some possibility of resisting the simplification of all things, and thus speaking to the enormous role that film continues to play. The program this year will introduce four films that bring us face to face with the weight of these moments and connections.
Yamagata and Film
The Yamagata and Film special program began in 2007 when management of the YIDFF was transferred from the city of Yamagata to a publicly owned NPO, as an effort to locate the Yamagata that has nurtured the film festival. The acts of reaching out to touch the world and rooting to a sense of place are deeply connected. While Yamagata and Film began as a program addressing films about Yamagata, it also touches on film’s relationship to the region, having expanded to encompass films from Yamagata and turning our attention to works and the film scene that has emerged in the region itself. This program will meditate on the reflections and changing values about that which has been lost in Yamagata to a continually changing world, while remaining connected to the land and the origins of the YIDFF.
Special Invitation Film
Our daily lives have been forever changed by the realities of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Wuhan, I Am Here sheds light on the reality that continues from 2020 to this day.
Film Letter to the Future
The experience of watching a film is nothing more or less than encountering an existence beyond oneself, having a reaction to it, and coming closer to an understanding of how others live. The spread of COVID-19 has revealed the “impairment” of human interaction and created a “divide” among people. It is because at this very time we have been deprived of the act of “speaking” to each other that YIDFF 2021 would like you to listen to the words and voices of others through films and confront the existence projected on the screen. Since September 2020, YIDFF has been showing award-winning films online to high school and university students in a program titled “Film Delivery for Teens” and introducing the opinions of those who have seen the films. This time, YIDFF 2021 presents three films that focus on the act of listening to others and is holding screening workshops for high school and university students, as well as a symposium on film education. We hope that the voices from the films and the responses to them will reach someone, somewhere, someday.
* The film screenings and workshop program are free for high school and university students who pre-register. The symposium on film education is open to all.
Yamagata Rough Cut!
A rough cut is footage not yet polished into a complete work—a fragment violently torn from the immediate gaze of an individual. Yamagata: Rough Cut! will present an online screening of four videos (rough cuts) from flmmakers living or born in Asia, including Japan, as well as a dialogue with creators and participants.
This program will be a special chance to participate in the language and images born of film, with a focus on sharing and dialogue. is year’s event will explore the rules of sharing and dialogue unique to an online festival. Please join us for a conversation that will take everyone—filmmakers, critics, researchers and spectators—beyond their individual role in the film festival.
* The aim of this program is not competition.
* Registration required prior to event.