Since its inception in 1989, we have examined the world and documentary film through the International Competition, one of the pillars of this festival. This year, a record 1,141 films were submitted from 110 countries and regions across the globe. Each of the 15 selected works in the competition will be screened twice during the event. A panel of international jurors will award the Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize (the Grand Prize) and other prizes.
In recent years, the number of entries made online at our website has increased dramatically, enabling us to instantaneously receive applications from the other side of the planet, and e-mail correspondence has improved the efficiency of the submission process. However, we have not reduced the time spent reviewing the films that are submitted.
For the International Competition, each submitted film is viewed by two or more people, and the selection of the final 15 films to be screened is made after thorough deliberations. This process has been in place since the festival’s inauguration in 1989.
This year’s Selection Committee was comprised of nine people, including film critics, festival officials, and festival office staff. Along with a number of advisors, they worked tirelessly day and night for six months to screen films and select the finalists. Public screenings were also held to allow regular citizens to experience the selection process.
In addition to viewing the films that were thus selected for screening, we hope that everyone in the audience will ask questions after the screenings and talk film with the directors visiting Yamagata, when you see them on the street or at the Komian Club at the end of the day. After all, providing a space for filmmakers and the audience to come together and unite as one is another pillar of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.
After the festival is over some of the films can be rented for non-profit screenings, so if there is a film that catches your eye, please consider setting up an event to screen it. I hope the encounters that you have during the film festival will be fruitful for every one of you.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks to the many filmmakers who submitted their films, and to all of the people whose cooperation has made this festival possible.