Yamagata Creative Cities International Conference 2021|The Power of Gastronomy and Film〈Free Archive Streaming〉

Nami AikoYamagata


The Yamagata Creative Cities International Conference was held in the past by inviting focal points of domestic or overseas Creative Cities and various speakers from the film-industry, holding symposiums themed on film and creative cities, reflecting on the creativity and possibilities found in film culture and sustainable urban development. In this year’s conference, an online symposium under the theme of “The Power of Gastronomy and Film” was held and live-streamed in collaboration with Tsuruoka, a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, during the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021. This is an archive of the live streaming subtitled in English.



DIALOGUE Gastronomy of Tsuruoka and Yamagata”

Tsuruoka is certified as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Yamagata is designated as a city of film but we take our prides in the city’s diverse gastronomy. You will understnad the charm of food and gastronomy of each city as the dialogue unfolds.


OKUDA Masayuki (Owner and Head Chef of an Italian restaurant Al Ché-cciano)

YAMAGUCHI Mika (Senior Vegetable Sommelier and Acting Chief Executive of Green Shop Harada)

PANEL DISCUSSION “The Power of Gastronomy and Film”

Through the cross sectoral initiatives of gastronomy and film, activities of young creators in yamagata and other efforts, we discussed how to make good use of the power of gastronomy and film in encouraging regional sustainable development.


OKUDA Masayuki (Owner and Head Chef of an Italian restaurant Al Ché-cciano)
SODA Kazuhiro (Filmmaker)
Juan Manuel Guimerans Rubio(Focal point of Valladolid UNESCO Creative City of Film)
Local Support Collective BAQSAN


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OKUDA Masayuki’s profile:

Born in December 1969 in Tsuruoka City. After graduating from a local high school, he moved to Tokyo and studied Italian cuisine, French cuisine, French pastries, and Italian gelato. After returning home, he served as head chef of two different restaurants.

In 2000, he opened his current restaurant Al Ché-cciano in Tsuruoka City, which specializes in using local seasonal ingredients, such as traditional vegetables only found in Tsuruoka. In 2009, he opened a restaurant, Yamagata San-Dan-Delo, on the 2nd floor of the Yamagata Specialty Shop in Ginza Tokyo. He has numerous outstanding achievements, including winning the 1st Tsuji Shizuo Food Culture Award, the 1st Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Cooking Masters Award, and in 2020 he was awarded The Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Award. In addition to being a master of Italian cuisine, he is also well versed in making a wide range of dishes including Sushi, French, and pastries. Chef Okuda is a master at working with and enhancing the natural flavors of ingredients he uses in cooking, and has an active presence not only in Japan but also worldwide.


YAMAGUCHI Mika’s profile:

As the only senior vegetable sommelier certified in Yamagata prefecture, she has run Yamagata branch school of Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association and served as a PR ambassador of traditional vegetables in Yamagata and PR ambassador of Italian vegetable study group in Kahoku region, Yamagata. Her food-related certificates include the first grade of Athlete Food Meister, Vegetable and Fruits Advisor, Inner Beauty Diet Advisor and nutrition education advisor. Her motto is to keep healthy and beauty with healthy food to pursue a long-lived society.


SODA Kazuhiro’s profile:

Soda Kazuhiro is a Peabody Award winning filmmaker. He’s also a recipient of the Marek Nowicki lifetime achievement prize awarded by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. He practices an observational method of documentary filmmaking based on his own “Ten Commandments” which prohibits him from doing pre-shoot research or writing a synopsis before filming. His feature documentary films include “Campaign”(07), “Mental”(08), “Peace”(10), “Theatre 1” (12), “Theatre 2” (12), “Campaign 2″(13), “Oyster Factory”(15), “Inland Sea”(18), “The Big House”(18), and “Zero”(20). He is also the author of seven books published in Japan. He taught at the University of Michigan as a visiting professor from 2016 till 2017.


Juan Manuel Guimerans Rubio’s profile:

Born in Cádiz (Spain) in 1967, since February 2021 he is CEO of VALLADOLID TOURISM (Sociedad Mixta para la promoción del Turismo de Valladolid SL), a local PPP established to launch and manage touristic and creative projects in Valladolid (Spain). The company objective is to foster social and economic recovery and sustainability in its territory, through collaboration with public, private and civic partners, locally and in national and international networks.

As a permanent member of the Spanish Civil Service since 1993, he has had technical positions in several Ministries (Public Works, Presidency, Economic Development and Culture and Tourism) of the Castilla y León Autonomous Community. From 2004 till 2021 he was Director of Culture and Tourism of Valladolid City Council, participating in international projects related to Heritage and social and economic development.

Education includes an LLM from the University of Salamanca (Spain), postgraduate studies in European and International Law from the KU Leuven (Belgium), and a University degree in Political Sciences and Sociology from UNED (Spain). Invited lecturer in different Universities in Spain and abroad (Europe, India & Latin-America), he is specialized in Public Management, Organization Change, Smart Heritage and Smart and Sustainable Tourism.

JM Guimerans says “After so many years, I have the privilege of focusing in two of my passions: Film & Gastronomy”. Vice President since 2015, and Secretary General since June 2019 of the Spain Film Commission (SFC), he participates regularly in actions with traditional (USA) and emerging (India & China) international film industries. He is focal point of the “Valladolid City of Film” programme, member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network since 2019. Since October 2020 he is also part of the Executive Committee of the Spanish Association of Gastronomy Tourism Destinations “Tasting Spain”, as Technical Director.


Local Support Collective BAQSAN’s profile:

BAQSAN is a team of local creators ranging in age from 18 to 24. BAQSAN was launched in July 2020 by eight creators who wanted to energize and contribute to their hometown Yamagata as they saw many people and shops had a hard time in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media is a familiar tool for them as they have dealt with the internet and YouTube since their childhood. They have produced PR videos for many restaurants and posted them on SNS. Their goal is to roll out activities to invigorate not only Yamagata but every corner of Japan with their techniques and heartfelt passions.


Organized by Yamagata City and Yamagata Creative City Promotion Council

Co-hosted by Tsuruoka City and Tsuruoka Creative City of Gastronomy Promotion Council

Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, Fiscal Year 2021