This week, London hosts the Open City Doc Fest – a major festival celebrating the art of documentary filmmaking, as practised by some of the world’s finest contemporary directors.
Fans of boundary-pushing cinema should find a veritable surplus of bold and challenging offerings, representing the work of filmmakers from around the world. A total of 100 screenings are set to take place over the festival’s three-day run and organisers have strived to ensure that these are genuine ‘live events’ – accompanied by Q&A sessions from their creators, panel discussions and in some cases live performances of the films’ soundtracks.
The Open City Doc Fest’s curators have established several thematic strands to represent the documentaries on offer and they’re enormously varied. Whether you’re interested in Science Frictions, Hybrid Forms, City Stories or Moving Lives, there should be dozens of films to suit every individual taste.
There’s also a vast and eclectic programme of peripheral events taking place. These include guided walks of documentary makers’ inspirational locales, lectures from film industry insiders, theatrical performances and public workshops hosted by the scene’s biggest names.
A full list of screenings and events can be found on the Open City Doc Fest website, where would-be visitors can also buy their tickets. Audience members can expect to pay between £6 and £12 for individual showings, but passes for a full day or even the full festival can also be purchased. These cost £25 and £85 respectively for adults, or £20 and £70 for concessions.
This year’s highlights include McCullin, a landmark new documentary on celebrated British war photographer Don McCullin, which features as the festival’s closing night gala.
Most of the Open City Doc Fest’s venues are located on or around the campus of University College London, so those staying in The Montcalm London hotels shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding the events that interest them. The festival runs between Thursday and Sunday (June 20th to 23rd).