New Asian Currents

New Asian Currents Special Invitation Films

Shabnam Virmani
Oki Hiroyuki

Co-presented by: The Japan Foundation

Let’s embark on an exhilarating journey.

Asian filmmakers’ sense of “place”—infused with love, or feelings of loss, perhaps nostalgia. The endeavor to film personal histories and memories of people who inhabit a place. If film is inseparable from memory, it strikes me that the sense of place, encompassing memory, is the taproot of Asian documentary. Place that exists in the present, space that has vanished, place that goes beyond time and space . . . Carried by filmmakers’ spirit, the sense of place in these Asian films permeates the audience and floods into the universe. Slipping the bounds of nationality and place of production, thousands of waves of Asia—New Asian Currents—begin their journey.

The long journey the festival staff embarked on, in screening the films submitted to YIDFF, was a sustained series of new encounters, through film, with another’s life. Each of these films has walked, and still may be walking, thousands of winding paths. Making a film is a solitary adventure, during which the filmmaker must confront his or her inner self, and at the same time, the process opens out on a larger world where the filmmaker engages with society.

How busy Asian filmmakers are these days! Participating in film festivals, writing new projects, starting new films . . . they’re multitasking like jugglers. The pitching sessions and film markets that film festivals and broadcasters host may be important sources for funding, but they also spur on the shoestring operations that many independent Asian filmmakers have to adopt to continue making films. As production with small digital camera and digital editing becomes the norm, filmmakers continue to push the envelope on documentary production that can easily become formulaic.

We give a deep bow to filmmakers who continue to make documentary films under these conditions. We express our deep appreciation to all those who submitted their work. I hope that the audience and the filmmakers will carry their encounters in Yamagata on their journeys into the greater universe. We may experience a journey through the films we watch. And when the festival is over, we may see the first stage of a new journey.

Wakai Makiko