Yamagata Artists-in-Residence is a residency program that invites domestic and overseas artists to a set in Yamagata for a specified period of time and provides them with valuable space, resources, and networks to support them in developing their creative projects.
The first edition was held in 2018 and invited filmmakers from Indonesia and Malaysia to stay at Zao, a famous hot spring resort in Yamagata, to work on the medium of their film project. They joined a four-day workshop, bringing the participants together with five Japanese filmmakers and six international professional mentors, including Japanese world-renowned documentary filmmaker SODA Kazuhiro. They also deepened their relation with Yamagata citizens through the local project Creative Café (see page 6), a workshop for elementary and junior high school students, and community screenings. Furthermore, they made a short video about Yamagata from their perspective.
In 2019, as a collaborative project with Busan City of Film, the 3rd Busan Intercity Film Festival, and the Busan Independent Film Association, Yamagata invited South Korean director KIM Hwi Geun and his team to stay in Yamagata for ten days to make the short narrative film Return. The Yamagata Film Commission supported the team in finding the appropriate location to fit in the screenplay. As a result, the film was screened in Busan Inter-city Film Festival 2019 and Ngilngig Asian Fantastic Film Festival Davao 2019.
In fiscal 2020, with the outbreak of COVID-19, it was challenging to invite artists from abroad. Yamagata looked at the future past COVID-19, in how local industries could recover through the power of creativity. As a result, the city supported producing a unique script set in Yamagata by inviting Japanese leading film director SHINOHARA Tetsuo and ABE Mika, a screenwriter born in Obanazawa City, Yamagata prefecture. Taking COVID-19-mitigation measures, they conducted interviews with citizens and did research by visiting various places within the city.
From 2021, while the pandemic continued, Yamagata effectively used YouTube as a global communication tool to introduce the attraction of the city’s famous tourist spots with beautiful music. It invited popular YouTuber pianists such as Yomii, a popular composer with 1.61 million followers, and Jacob Koller, an arranger with 260,000 followers, to shoot their videos. A total of ten videos were produced and uploaded on YouTube and hit a total number of over 370,000 views (as of November 2021).
You can watch the videos produced through this project by clicking the below.