Open City Docs Fest

Festival dates

where to find us


What is Open City Docs Fest?

Open City Docs Fest is a live festival devoted to exploring the world we live in through the vision of documentary film. Every event is a 'live' event at Open City Docs Fest with filmmaker Q&As, film and subject panel discussions, live scores, comedy, theatre, guided documentary walks, live music, food, workshops for industry and public. It is where the filmmakers meet their audience.  


Our diverse programme of 100 films comes from all around the world. Like the university that houses us, our vision is truly global - fighting against the parochialism of British film and cinema culture. We are also committed to bringing in audiences who may feel that ’documentary’ is not for them, working in communities across london to do so. With the festival in venues around central london and across University College london’s (UCl) WC1 campus, we open up a hidden part of the city to Londoners and international visitors.  


The festival presents films about real life, and about the experience of real people, many of whose voices are not often heard. We challenge, explore, and expand ideas of what documentary can be and do, provoking debate and opening minds. Open City Docs Fest has selected films that explore the range of modern life, from the challenges of urban living, to the thrills of science, the subversion of art and the restorative beauty of music. Select your viewing from our handily organised festival strands, including Science Frictions, Hybrid Forms, Moving Lives, Power Struggles, City Stories, World Visions, Theatre of the Oppressor and the Shorts programmes, alongside a showcase of the winners of our nationwide, online filmmaking competition, MyStreet, and fantastic titles selected for our Awards.


What is Open City Docs?

The Festival is one of several projects run by Open City Docs, founded by Michael Stewart. Based at UCL, Open City Docs is where the next generation of filmmaker is nurtured and celebrated, delivering film screenings and live events, training programmes and projects throughout the year including Open City Docs Fest, MyStreet and Open City Docs School. We also run screening events through the year called Open City Docs Specials.


Michael Stewart - Founder of Open City Docs

Michael has worked throughout his career between film and anthropology, including stints as an independent producer and within the BBC. Film work includes State of Fear (1989, with John Blake BAFTA Award nominated) What Magdalena Said (Everyman) and Biafra: Fighting a War without Guns (Timewatch). He has written for many years about Eastern European Roma (Gypsies) - most recently editing a book about radical anti-Gypsy politics in Europe (The Gypsy Menace, PD Hurst May 2012). He lectures in Social Anthropology at UCL and is a Champion for Social Enterprise there. MyStreet and Open City Docs are the result of the transformative effect of working at UCL, an institution where social, physical and natural sciences jostle alongside the fine arts.


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