Tragic news has bombarded us during the preparation of this festival - the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Taiwan, terrifying bloodshed in East Timor and Jakarta, an unbelievable accident in a Japanese nuclear plant, and the eminent Y2K threat looming ahead... It is not easy to believe in an unconditional rosy future for the people of Asia even as the region's economic crisis eases off towards the beginning of the new century.

Meanwhile, we know that in Taiwan, the documentary group Full Shot has started up a long-term project to record the damage and recovery of the earthquake victims. In Indonesia, video activists are in the streets, at the forefront of political rallies, risking their lives. In China, an increasing number of documentarists around the country are filming the real stories of people in a country undergoing transformation, caught between government policy and market demands. With courage and commitment, filmmakers around Asia are taking up the challenge to express the realities of their own people.
History tells us that in turbulent times, exceptional documentaries have been produced. Does ten years of YIDFF's presentation of Asian films lay testimony to that fact? Only the future can tell.

New Asian Currents has expanded in size and scale over the years. It was an inevitable choice - compared to a mere five years ago, documentaries made by Asian filmmakers have been bursting in number. The originality of the emerging works as a means of creative expression is astonishing, and it is thrilling to see how the documentaries are being used-not only as educational tools or TV fare, but as independent films to be shown in theaters or salons. There have also been more new works brought to our attention from regions not represented in the past, like the Middle East.

It is a fact that all over Asia, documentary is gaining momentum. It could be that we are approaching a golden era of Asian documentary! At the same time, creative documentary production is accompanied not only by the energy and initiative of individual filmmakers, but also by networking and social support systems - distribution networks, income-creating markets, and most importantly, places to showcase the jewels.

In the two special programs hosted by New Asian Currents this year, we hope to pay tribute to the groundbreaking work of documentary groups in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan that has laid foundations for the rise of individual talent.

It is with much gratitude to VIDEO ACT!, Full Shot Communication Foundation, and Cinema Juku, together with filmmakers Wu Yii-feng and Hara Kazuo that we present the two discussion programs, Filming-Screening-Changing / Video Activism in Japan and Korea, and Case Study: Full Shot (Taiwan) and Cinema Juku (Japan), Spreading the Filmmaking Movement. Thanks to their generous contributions and dedicated work, two in-depth programs of screenings and discussions will take place at the Yamagata Citizens' Hall during the Festival. Don't miss the fun!
Fujioka Asako
New Asian Currents Coordinator

COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee