YIDFF Launches Program with Streaming Service DAFilms, Accessible For Free and With Focus on Films From the Festival’s History

Nami AikoYamagata

Yamagata, Japan: The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival partners with streaming service DAFilms, the VOD platform of the festival association Doc Alliance, for an online program available free for one week and on SVOD and TVOD for a further two weeks. The selection by YIDFF programmers highlights key works from the festival’s more than three decades in existence. This exclusive focus features documentaries by Kawase Naomi, Hamaguchi Ryusuke, and Ogawa Productions, among many others.

The complete selection will be available entirely for free on DAFilms.com from January 17 – 23 at this link: https://dafilms.com/program/1126-made-in-japan-yamagata-1989-2021

The ten films in Made in Japan, Yamagata 1989 – 2021 trace a curious and inspiring pathway through the history of one of Asia’s most celebrated film festivals. The program is bookended by a cinematic record of the inaugural YIDFF in 1989, produced by Ogawa Shinsuke’s Ogawa Pro (A Movie Capital), and a 2021 documentary about the pandemic-induced closure of a traditional pickle shop, itself a memorable and important social space for the attendees of Yamagata every two years (Pickles and Komian Club).

Between these twin poles from 1989 and 2021, audiences will be able to discover a further 8 titles drawn mostly from the festival’s International Competition and New Asian Currents sections. For these two closely curated festival sections, only a small number of Japanese films have been invited over the 17 editions of the biennial festival, a sign of the significance of those featured.

Together, Made in Japan, Yamagata 1989 – 2021 gives a true sense of the depth of Yamagata’s curatorial vision, ranging from crucial early works by now celebrated auteurs —including The Weald by Kawase Naomi, in the year she completes her epic film about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Storytellers co-directed by Hamaguchi Ryusuke, in a moment where his work has received truly boundless acclaim by critics, festival programmers, and audiences alike — to lesser known or older titles that as an ensemble suggest a richness of tone and subject that few documentary festivals can boast.

Program Coordinator and YIDFF board member Fujioka Asako says, “This is the first time Yamagata is presenting any online film program on a world-wide scale. Audiences are in for a treat as important rediscoveries (A Movie Capital and Living on the River Agano) have been digitized with renewed English subtitles. This will give documentary fans around the world a real flavor of what Yamagata is all about.”

“Few festivals in the world carry with them the sheer cinephile prestige of an institution like YIDFF,” says Christopher Small, head curator of DAFilms.com. “We are delighted to collaborate with Yamagata’s team on a program that spans the length and breadth of their three-decade history, synthesizing so many of the most crucial themes and forms of experimentation into a unified selection of truly remarkable Japanese documentary cinema.”


Made in Japan, Yamagata 1989 – 2021

Available on dafilms.com from January 17 – February 6

《Free for registered users for the first week》

  • A Movie Capital // IIZUKA Toshio // 1991
  • Living on the River Agano // SATO Makoto // 1992 // Award of Excellence YIDFF ’93
  • The Weald // KAWASE Naomi // 1997
  • The New God // TSUCHIYA Yutaka // 1999
  • A2 // MORI Tatsuya // 2001 // Special Prize, Citizens’ Prize YIDFF 2001
  • The Cheese and the Worms // KATO Haruyo // 2005 // Ogawa Shinsuke Prize, FIPRESCI Prize YIDFF2005
  • Dear Pyongyang // YANG Yonghee // 2005 // Special Prize, YIDFF 2005
  • Storytellers // SAKAI Ko, HAMAGUCHI Ryusuke // 2013 // SkyPerfectTV IDEHA Prize, YIDFF 2013
  • Cenote // ODA Kaori // 2019
  • Pickles and Komian Club // SATO Koichi // 2021

Commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan  


Press access to all films is available upon request.

For more information or for media inquiries, please contact:

Nakanishi Kayoko: press2021@yidff.jp

In YIDFF publications, all names are written as Family name – Given name.


 – About YIDFF –

Held biennially since 1989 in a city far north of Tokyo, the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival is one of Asia’s most vibrant and prominent documentary film festivals. Programming recent ground-breaking work in the International Competition and introducing emerging voices from Asia in New Asian Currents, the festival also prides its special programs shedding light on history and diversity of documentary. Filmmaker Ogawa Shinsuke spearheaded the organization of the first Festival. The festival offers filmmakers and film fans alike an intimate sanctuary for alternative, independent creative documentary and its makers. The next edition of YIDFF is October 2023.


– About DAFilms –

The International VOD platform DAFilms began as one of the main projects of Doc Alliance, a creative partnership between 7 of the major European documentary festivals that has lasted 15 years. As a consequence, DAFilms can boast of an unparalleled collection of more than 2,500 festival films, a catalogue built up in close association with some of the most prestigious documentary institutions in the world and which sets it apart from platforms with a shorter lifespan in the world of VOD and festival acquisition.