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Preview: Open City Documentary Festival 2018 (London)

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 2.01.31 PM

LONDON – The Open City Documentary Festival returns for its eighth edition next week, celebrating creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers while featuring 30 features and 48 shorts, 2 world premieres, 3 European premieres and 26 UK premieres across shorts and features from more than 30 countries.


Taking place across a host of venues across central London, the art of non-fiction is celebrated across a host of screenings, special events, parties, panels, workshops and masterclasses. Opening night on 4th September will see the UK Premiere of Juliana Antunes; Baronesa (2017, Brazil), following the perilous daily lives of two friends living in the favelas of Belo Horizonte. Spending five years in Belo Horizonte for the project, and working with a non-professional cast, Antunes has then created a complex, multilayered and moving portrait of contemporary life in the favelas.

The Swing

Meanwhile, closing night on 9th September will see the UK Premiere of Cyril Aris’ The Swing (2018, Lebanon). The film explores the lies a family tells to keep their patriarch happy, affecting in how the entire family bonds together to prevent Antoine from finding out his most beloved daughter has died, each hiding their grief, resulting in a deeply affecting, beautifully shot cinematic novella. Alongside two other films, both Baronesa and The Swing have been nominated for the Open City Award, given to the film that ‘exemplifies an author in control of their subject matter, craft and story – matching content and form in a powerful and persuasive fashion’, while another four films have been nominated for the Emerging International Filmmaker Award, given to first or second time filmmakers displaying commitment to their choices and a clear directorial vision.

Kazuo Hara

Besides the expansive selection of screenings, the festival will also be featuring programmes ranging from inviting found footage documentarian Penny Lane and Japanese pioneer of ‘action documentary’ Kazuo Hara down to present their works, while also inviting artists to present films that have informed their own practice, such as DJ and producer Nabihah Iqbal and filmmaker Marc Isaacs. For the special events programme, the festival will celebrate the Ethno-Fictions of Columbian filmmaker Laura Huertas Milan and the groundbreaking hybrid experiments of Polish maverick, Bogdan Dziworksi, as well as new projects from Radio Atlas and NANG Magazine.

The Pain of Others by Penny Lane

Finally, there will also be plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal for those interested in getting into the industry, with filmmakers such as Tadhg O’Sullivan, Steven Eastwood, Elhum Shakerifar, Chloe White, Rose Palmer, and David Charap set to share their experiences and tips, as well as an Industry Bootcamp aimed at students and recent graduates that prepares participants to enter the industry.

The Open City Doc Festival runs from 4th – 9th September 2018. For full programme and tickets visit the Festival website:



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