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BREATHING THE SAME AIR: Yamagata Documentary Dojo 3 and Minikino


Yamagata Documentary Dojo is a 30-day residency program for Asian filmmakers in a hot spring spa resort in the mountains of Yamagata, Japan, known for the biennial international documentary film festival. For this third edition in the midst of a global pandemic, one filmmaker from Japan stayed in Hijiori Onsen, Ohkura Village, while other filmmakers experienced the program in their respective countries, with regular online correspondence and sharing. The program gave filmmakers with documentary film projects the opportunity to work intensely on their rough cuts, deepen creative ambitions, and to receive mentorship from fellow filmmakers and industry professionals. For a four-day online workshop, the group was joined by mentors and three other Japanese filmmakers with projects. The program was organized in partnership with Yayasan Kino Media and Minikino, Bali.

Yamagata Documentary Dojo 3 took place:

In: Hijiori Onsen, Ohkura Village, Yamagata Prefecture (JAPAN); Denpasar, Bali (INDONESIA); Chiangmai (THAILAND)

Organized by: Documentary Dream Center

Supported by: The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal 2020;
The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Grant Program for Promotion of Cultural Collaboration; Tokyo Docs

With the assistance of: Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (NPO), Ohkura Village Tourism Association, MASH Denpasar

Residency Partner: Yayasan Kino Media / Minikino (Bali, Indonesia)

Residency Participants & Mentors


Immersed themselves for 30 days in three locations to focus on their film projects, taking part in a 4-day workshop using video conference call (2/6-9), one-on-one online meetings with mentors to renew their perspectives and move their films forward towards completion.


from left: Abichon (Tong), Ananta (Gap)



  • Travelled from Bangkok to spend their residency in Chiangmai
  • Project title 「Scala」
Ananta Thitanat is a Thai documentary filmmaker. She has worked as a cinematographer, Director assistant, and co-Director on short documentaries for television, NGO, and company such as THAI PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE (THAI PBS), Thailand Creative & Design Center, British Council,  Channel NewsAsia, and more since 2010.
Abhichon Rattanabhayon is a Thai documentary filmmaker and photographer. He graduated from Kasetsart University, where he studied History (2002-2005).  Abhichon has been a contract photographer with Thaizeit magazine (German) in 2006 and has become a freelance photographer and filmmaker since 2010.

Riani Singgih



  • Travelled from Jakarta to spend her residency in Bali
  • Project title 「A Sonorous Melody」
Riani Singgih is a Documentary filmmaker and Cinematographer thriving to tell Southeast Asian community’s stories, particularly on the topic of social issues and mental health. Riani has directed/produced documentary films in the past that have won over 35 awards and screened in over 50 film festivals worldwide such as Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and Palm Springs Short international Film Festival. Her student work at Chapman University was a semifinalist in the 2018 Student Academy Awards. Riani has partnered with NGOs around the world with the goal of telling stories with a lasting impact. In the past two years, she worked closely with creatives with disabilities on several platforms which pushed her to make ‘A Sonorous Melody’.

Winner Wijaya



  • Travelled from Tangerang to spend his residency in Bali
  • Project title 「Greg from Wai Apo」
Winner Wijaya was born in Surabaya, Indonesia. He has been making short films since the fifth grade of elementary school. In 2020 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Multimedia Nusantara University majoring in Film. His short documentary “Ojek Lusi” was nominated for Piala Citra and won the best short documentary award in Festival Film Dokumenter 2017. In 2020 he won Minikino Best Begadang Filmmaking Competition for his directed film “Hey Guys Balik Lagi Sama Gue, Tuhan!” and was nominated as best short fiction film at Festival Film Indonesia 2020. At the moment he is in the editing process for his first feature documentary. 

Kawakami Atiqa



  • Travelled from Yokohama to spend her residency in Hijiori
  • Project title 「Rokyoku Story」
Atiqa Kawakami was born in Yokohama. Titled “Pilgrimage”, her first documentary film told the story of a Japanese American Nisei revisiting the site of the concentration camp where he was held during World War Ⅱ. This film, which she released under the name Noriko Kawakami, was awarded the Kirin Art Award in 2001. Since then she has been busy directing documentaries, collaborating with musicians, and working on various other projects. Currently, she is in the editing process for her first feature documentary about Rokyoku.


Took part in a 4-day workshop (2/6-9) using video conference all, presented their works-in-progress and took part in active discussion with mentors and AIR participants.


Shimada Chiemi

  • Based in Matsudo
  • Project title「Fallling Awake」
Shimada Chiemi is an artist-filmmaker from Chiba, Japan. She studied for an MA in Experimental Film and a BA in Filmmaking at Kingston School of Art, London. Working with both analog (8, 16mm film) and digital materials, her films explore themes of intimacy, domesticity, and displacement while utilizing documentary, fiction, and experimental approaches.

Fukuda Pero

  • Based in Kyoto
  • Project title 「Batwa」
Fukuda Pero is a multi-modal anthropologist, poet, and artist from Hyogo Japan. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at Ritsumeikan University. Fukuda conducts fieldwork mainly in Rwanda. His outputs range from film, installation, photography, drawing, poetry, novels to academic writing, exploring the boundary between art and academia, blurring and questioning them, thriving to construct a different holistic form of knowledge. Fukuda has been nominated for Forward Prize for Poetry 2020 and chosen as emerging poets 2020 by Gendaishitecho

Iwasaki Yu

  • Based in Tokyo
  • Project title 「Tokyo Undercurrent」
Iwasaki Yu is a Tokyo-based filmmaker. He directed “Proof of Family” (2019), a documentary about an Ethiopian asylum seeker in Tokyo, which was selected for Nippon Connection and won the audience award at the Tokyo Documentary Film Festival. His contemporary dance film “nai-mono-gatari” (2011) was screened at the DMJ International Dance Film Festival and overseas. He has directed various NHK World programs. He’s been following migrants in Japan. Born in Tokyo, Iwasaki graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a BA in English Literature.


Supported the filmmakers’ progress on their films through the online workshop, lectures, and one-on-one meetings.


Tan Pin Pin



Tan Pin Pin has made a career out of making films that question the idea of Singapore. From traversing Singapore to find out how long it takes to cross the island, 38 mins, to traversing the world to speak with her political exiles, her films question gaps in history, memory, and documentation. They include Singapore GaGa [2005], Invisible City [2007], To Singapore, with Love [2013], and IN TIME TO COME [2017]. They have screened at the Berlinale, Hot Docs, Busan, Visions du Réel, SXSW, and at the Flaherty Seminar. She has had retrospectives at RIDM and Dok Leipzig. She has won or been nominated for more than twenty awards including awards from Cinema du Reel and Taiwan International Documentary Festival. She is a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, an advocacy group for independent filmmakers. She was a board member of the National Archives of Singapore and Singapore International Film Festival. In 2018, she was one of two Singaporeans to be invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, USA. tanpinpin.com

Takeshi Hata

Film Editor, Producer

Toyonaka, Osaka

Hata Takeshi was born in Tokyo, Hata began editing TV programs and film trailers professionally during his university years. Going freelance in 1999, his main work is film editor for theatrical documentaries and trailers. His filmography includes films by Sato Makoto such as Hanako (2001), Memories of Agano (2004), and Out of Place: Memories of Edward Said (2005); Power and Terror (2002) by John Junkerman; And Life Goes On (2004), Chokora! (2008), Dryads in a Snow Valley (2015) by Kobayashi Shigeru; Minnano Gakko (2014/editing support) by Manabe Toshinaga; Trace of Breath (2017) by Komori Haruka; Sennan Asbestos Disaster (2017) by Hara Kazuo; Of Love and Law (20017) by Toda Hikaru.

Reiko Tahara

Adjunct college professor (Hunter College, NYU), Co-founder of Uno Port Art Films

New York

Tahara Reiko has been an adjunct college professor since 2007, currently teaching documentary history, resistance cinema, Asian Culture, etc at Hunter College (MFA in Integrated Media Arts) and NYU. Also works as a translator and interpreter in film, business, startup, and welfare fields. Co-founder of Uno Port Art Films (est. 2010), a DIY outdoor film festival in Okayama with a theme of “Life, Art, Film.” Through UPAF, she wishes to create unexpected connections between the audience in a small town in Japan and indie filmmakers mainly from the Global South and minority communities in the West whose films are often hard to reach in Japan. Her own past films have been shown in various film festivals and are available at dozens of college libraries across the globe. Immigrated to the US from Japan in 1991. She is also a mother and an active member of a community garden in deep Brooklyn.

Koyo Yamashita

Programmer Image Forum Festival


Yamashita Koyo was born in Tokyo, Japan. He has been festival director of Image Forum Festival since 2001. Programmer of Theater Image Forum in Shibuya, Tokyo since 2005, guest programmer/curator for many film and media art festivals and film events in and outside Japan. Has served as jury for many international film/art festivals such as Hong Kong International Film Festival, Cannes Director’s Fortnight, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Tampere International Film Festival, etc.

Oda Kaori



Oda Kaori was born in Osaka (Japan), 1987. Her first short film, Thus A Noise Speaks (2010), was presented at festivals such as Tokyo International LGBT Film festival and Nara International Film Festival where it received the Audience Award. She lived in Sarajevo for three years from 2013 and completed the Doctor of Liberal Arts in filmmaking under the supervision of Bela Tarr in 2016. Her first feature, ARAGANE (2015), had its World Premiere at YAMAGATA International Film Festival and received Special Mention. The film has been screened at festivals such as Doclisboa, Mar del Plata IFF, Sarajevo FF, Taiwan International Documentary FF, and more. She is a recipient of Grants for Overseas Study by Young Artists of Pola Art Foundation. Her second feature, Toward A Common Tenderness (2017), had its World Premiere at DOK Leipzig. The film is currently on tour at festivals around such as JAPAN CUT and Pravo Ljudski Film Festival.

Fransiska Prihadi (Cika)

Co-founder of art-house cinema MASH Denpasar, Program Director of Minikino


Fransiska Prihadi is an architect, co-founder of art-house cinema MASH Denpasar (2019) in Bali. She is the program director of Minikino. She served as guest programmer and jury for various short film festivals such as the Australia-Indonesia Centre ReelOzInd! Short Film competition 2017-2020, SEA Shorts Malaysia 2017-2018 selection committee, 22nd Thai Short Film & Video (2018, Bangkok), jury for East Asian Experimental Film Competition 33rd Image Forum Festival, Tokyo (Jury 2019, Jury Members 1st round evaluation 2020), first-round pre-selection team for Busan International Short Film Festival (2020-2021), curator of shorts fiction category for Indonesian Film Festival Awarding Award (2019-2020), 2020 Shorts Jury for Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Canada), National Competition Jury for Bogotá Short Film Festival 18th edition (Colombia).


Took part in online talk sessions during Movie Nights and the workshop event.

Mary Stephen Paris “China Me” Film screening during workshop, discussion
Nakamura Takahiro Yokohama “Zen and Bones” Movie Night screening, discussion
Bora Li-Kil Seoul “Glittering Hands” Movie Night screening, discussion
Yaël Bitton

Rahul Jain



“Machines” Movie Night screening, discussion
Kim Dong-ryung

Park Kyoung-tae

Seoul “Tour of Duty” Movie Night screening, discussion
Yamagata Documentary Dojo Pre-events


A cinema/online screening, talk events archived online

Dates: Dec 4 – 6, 2020

At: Mash Denpasar, Bali & online

Event website: click here

Talk Event on YouTube

Day 2 Day 3

ONLINE PROGRAM “Breathing the Same AIR”

A live online discussion event with Fransiska Prihadi and Fujioka Asako, featuring video clips introducing Hijiori and Bali villages

Date: Sept. 6, 2020

YouTube archive video:

Yamagata Documentary Dojo Main Program

Artist in Residence (AIR)

[1] Supporting Asian Documentary Filmmakers

Five filmmakers: We invited one Japanese filmmaker to Ohkura Village, Yamagata for a 30-day retreat at Hijiori Hot Spring. One team of two Thai filmmakers and two Indonesian filmmakers — a total of four Southeast Asian filmmakers — traveled to locations within their national borders to spend the same 30 days in similarly immersive environments.

Intensive focus: The five filmmakers made creative inroads on their documentary projects through focused time and safe space to review their footage and ideas.

International exchange: The pandemic did not allow for initially proposed community activities like visiting local schools, but online interaction among the filmmakers was surprisingly fruitful, as they offered each other support by sharing experiences, advise, and friendship (and laughs). We used zoom, facebook group, whatsapp, and a blog site to stay connected, and the contrast of deep snow in Yamagata, tropical weather in Bali, cultural environment in Chiangmai broadened our sense of global real-time. We chatted weekday mornings during Sharing Yawns, saw Asian documentaries together and took part in discussions with their directors and sometimes editors every Thursday night for Movie Night, and each team presented progress reports on Friday afternoons.

Food for deeper thinking: The residency kicked off with a 4-day zoom workshop (total hours online: 29), where the filmmakers were joined by filmmaking mentors and industry professionals as advisors, plus three other Japanese filmmakers with projects. Project presentations and discussions were followed by writing sessions to archive the thoughts and ideas that came to mind. These texts, together with the video recordings of the zoom sessions, were shared on a private blog for review, re-examination, and archive. During the following three weeks, the five AIR filmmakers met with mentors for a total of 32 one-on-one meetings about their projects.

Wrapup: At the end of the 30 days, the AIR filmmakers spoke about their experiences in an online wrapup presentation.



[2] Invigorating local communities

Activities: Due to the pandemic, holding cultural activities with local communities was limited but not impossible.

Yamagata: YIDFF hosted a public screening event in Yamagata City introducing Kawakami Atiqa’s rough cut of her work-in-progress where the audience gave the filmmaker feedback and created opportunity for fruitful exchange. In Hijiori, the local women welcomed Atiqa to take part in a traditional event. She was invited as guest to speak on a community podcast.

Bali: As part of research for her project, Riani met and exchanged with the sign language community in Bali. Visits to villages were canceled due to the pandemic flareup.

Chiangmai: The nature, the environment of culture and arts were enjoyed by filmmakers as they visited temples and art galleries in their free time.

Short films: The filmmakers made short documentaries during their stay as a memento.



Contact: Documentary Dream Center (Fujioka Asako)

6F Daisan Yamada Bldg. 22 Aizumicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0005 JAPAN

Email info@ddcenter.org








Documentary Dream Center and Minikino would like to invite you to apply for a 4-week Residency Program, 2 Feb to 3 Mar 2021 in Yamagata, Japan.


  1. Applicants must be a filmmakers over 21 years, in good health and have sufficient proficiency in English or Japanese language, and based in Japan or South East Asia.  
  2.  Please upload and send a link of your self-recorded video introducing yourself with maximum 3 minutes duration.
  3. Applications must be submitted between 10 November to 8 December, 2020 by filling in the application form – https://minikino.org/airform
  4. If you would like to attach a letter of recommendation (max.2) please use this form – https://minikino.org/airrecommend
    • Residents should be committed to the 4-week residency, using the period for project development or completion.
    • Residents shall retain copyrights of all works developed or produced during the residency.
    • Selection is based on portfolio and the film project to be worked on during the residency. Finalists will be invited to online interviews. Early application is highly recommended.
    • Results will be notified in mid-December 2020


Open call for applications:

Tuesday, 10 Nov to Tuesday, 8 Dec 2020

Review of applications:

Wednesday, 9 Dec to Monday, 14 Dec 2020

Announcement of recipients:

mid-December 2020

Yamagata Documentary Dojo residency:

DATES: Feb. 2 to March 3, 2021  (29 nights) STAY: Feb. 2 to Feb. 28 in Hijiori Onsen, Yamagata / March 1 to 3 in Tokyo

  • We will have a strict health and hygiene measures following the Japanese government and health authorities’ recommendations. Participants and staff will be asked to follow them during the program to ensure their safety. This includes obtaining negative tests for COVID-19 before arrival (costs covered by program).


The workshop consists of masterclasses, group discussions, and mentoring. The filmmakers will be focusing on their film projects and will be asked to take part in public film screenings and other activities with local people.

The organizers propose that residents make a video portrait (of 1-3 minutes) of a Yamagata person they met during their stay, to share as a gift to the community. 

At the end of their stay, the residents will be required to take part in end-of-residency presentations in Yamagata and Tokyo.

  • The hot spring village is the ancient Hijiori Onsen, renowned for baths with natural healing properties and 3-meter snowfall in winter. 
  • Dojo: A dojo is originally a hall or space for immersive learning in the martial arts or meditation. The term consists of two characters which mean “the Place” and “the Way” in Japanese.


Applications must be submitted between 10 Nov-8 Dec 2020. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. We will not accept any late applications after the deadline. Applicants will be notified in mid-December 2020.


  1. Two-way airfare (economy class) between filmmaker’s airport and Tokyo. Transportation between Tokyo and Hijiori Onsen.
  2. Basic accommodation in a Japanese-style inn (private single room, shared bath/WC) with two local Japanese-style meals a day (breakfast and dinner).
  3. Simple cooking facilities available.
  4. Basic work studio provided per team.
  5. Per diem of 2,000 JPY for 29 days for each person.
  6. All other incidentals, local travel, living expenses should be covered by the residents.
  7. Residents are requested to buy their own travel insurance for illness and accidents.
  8. Residents must have a passport that is at least 6 months valid after the travel dates.


While the spread of COVID-19 around the world poses a serious health risk, we believe that with cooperation of the participants, we will be able to host a physical program safely by making it smaller, adopting online exchange in some part, and taking precautions. 

Following the Japanese government and health authorities’ recommendations, we will have strict health and hygiene measures in place and ask participants and staff to follow them during the program to ensure their safety. This includes obtaining negative tests for COVID-19 before arrival (costs covered by program). Given the development of the health situation, we will not hesitate to adopt changes in the program. 

If in mid-December when we finalize the selection of participants, any of the below is valid, the program will be switched to an online format for the international participants:

  1. Ban to enter Japan is not lifted 
  2. A designated quarantine period is required after entry into Japan
  3. Use of public transportation is restricted

We will discuss with finalists in online interviews whether they would still like to take part if the program goes online. 

The possible online residency program will: 

  1. Require a commitment to focused work during the 30-day program period.
  2. Require regular online discussion and collaboration with the team.  
  3. Provide rental fee for a local studio or work-space (in your home country) during the period.  
  4. Provide per diem of 2,000 JPY (or equivalent) for 29 days for each person.

* The above does not apply to the Japan-based participants.


  1. Filmmakers will retain copyright of all works developed or produced during the residency, and will allow Documentary Dream Center the right to screen it for non-commercial purposes in relation to the residency;
  2. Documentary Dream Center has the right to use, without payment of any fee, the name, image, and voice in photographs, recordings, and interviews of the filmmakers during the residency;
  3. Yamagata Documentary Dojo should be acknowledged in the credits of the work developed or produced during the residency;
  4. If the filmmakers do not complete the residency without valid reasons, the organizers reserve the right to recover partial or full costs as provided during the residency;
  5. For all unforeseen issues, organizers and filmmakers will work to resolve differences upon mutual consultations in good faith. 

For inquiries, contact: air@minikino.org


  1. The residency is organized by: Documentary Dream Center  www.ddcenter.org Daisan Yamada Bldg. 6F, 22 Aizumi-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0005 JAPAN Director: FUJIOKA Asako  Email info@ddcenter.org  phone +81-70 5089 9203
  2. Supported by: The Japan Foundation’s Asia Center Grant Program for Promotion of Cultural Collaboration The Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan in the fiscal 2020 and other partners With the Assistance of: Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (NPO)  and other partners
  3. Yamagata Documentary Dojo 3 Partner is: Minikino (Yayasan Kino Media) Bali, Indonesia. https://minikino.org/en/ Jalan Pulau Madura no.5, Denpasar, Bali-80113 Indonesia phone +62-361 4744813 Program Director: PRIHADI Fransiska Email cika@minikino.org
  4. Documentary Dream Center and Minikino are planning to send a filmmaker from Japan to Bali in summer 2021, with details to be announced in early 2021.

Breathing The Same Air at MFW6 Talks

Yamagata Documentary Dojo 2019


Yamagata Documentary Dojo 3 Team
Fujioka Asako (Director) / 藤岡朝子
Kubota Yuri / 久保田ゆり
Endo Toru / 遠藤徹
Iino Shoji / 飯野昭司
Ho Chien Ying / 何茜穎

Minikino Dream Team
Fransiska Prihadi (program director)
Saffira Nusa Dewi (visual designer)
I Made Suarbawa (all-round supporter)
Edo Wulia (all-round supporter)
Retno Mumpuni (logistic and accounting)
Tynezia Verdina Mariabeth Ataupah (intern, social media)
Stanis Obeth Hollyfield (intern, video & photo documentation)

With Special Thanks to
Everyone at Hijiori Onsen, Ohkura Village, Amamoto Rimiko, Aihara Hiromi, Amagi Yukihiko
Inoue Yoko, Tanaka Kenta, Takahashi Takuya, Oki Masaharu, Oka Tatsuya
Fransiska Prihadi, Mary Stephen, Tan Pin Pin, Annie Ohayon, Farid Rezkallah
Hata Takeshi, Tahara Reiko, Oda Kaori, Yamashita Koyo
Takagi Yoshihiko, Nakayama Hiroki, Wakai Makiko, Hama Haruka, Yano Kazuyuki

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