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Open City Documentary Festival (September 8 – 14) calling for your docs

The call for programme entries ends on Monday 10 May, act now !

Prizes are awarded in four categories: Open City Award, Emerging International Filmmaker Award, the UK Short Award, and the International Short Award.

The festival is looking for creative, innovative, challenging non-fiction filmmaking at short, mid-length & feature-length, as well as short audio documentaries, and cross platform projects. #TheArtOfNonFiction

How filmmakers represent people like ourselves, and those labelled as others, including work that demands an end to that distinction? Our upcoming short course will examine anti-colonial strategies of resistance, as well as highlight some rarely seen films directed by women.


Open City Documentary Festival creates an open space to nurture and champion the art of creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers. We provide a platform for emerging talent as well as established masters working within the documentary form.

Over 7500 people attended the tenth edition of the festival which took place online. The festival took place between 9th–15th September 2020 screening international contemporary non-fiction film, audio and cross media, as well as filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, special live events and industry networking opportunities.

Submissions for Open City Documentary Festival 2021 are now open. The festival will take place between 8th–14th September in a hybrid form. We are currently working towards returning to our usual venues in central London and hope to stage all festival screenings in the cinema. Elements of the film programme will also be made available online to audiences unable to attend the festival in-person. We endeavour to organise a festival that is both inclusive and respectful of the current health situation. We’re looking for creative, innovative, challenging non-fiction filmmaking at short, mid-length and feature-length, as well as short audio documentaries, and cross platform projects.

Prizes are awarded in four categories: Open City Award, Emerging Filmmaker Award, the UK Short Award, and International Short Award.

Previous jurors at the festival have included: Karen Alexander (Curator), Erika Balsom (Scholar and Critic), Nelly Ben Hayoun (Designer & Filmmaker), Tessa Boerman (Curator/Filmmaker), Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Filmmaker), Katerina Cizek (Interactive Filmmaker), Charlotte Cook (Field of Vision), Greg de Cuir Jr. (Writer & Curator), Bec Evans (Dazed), Joseph Fahim (Critic and Programmer), Carmen Gray (Film Critic), Briony Hanson (British Council), Tabitha Jackson (Sundance Institute), Kevin B. Lee (Filmmaker & Critic), Lawrence Lek (Artist, Filmmaker and Musician) , Mads Mikkelsen (CPH:DOX), Chiara Marañón (MUBI), Lynn Nwokorie (Doc Society), Pawel Pawlikowski (Filmmaker), Cristi Puiu (Filmmaker), Jessica Sarah Rinland (Filmmaker), Julian Ross (IFFR, Locarno Film Festival), Stephanie Spray (Filmmaker), and David Wilson (True/False).

Open City Documentary Festival is a Section B BAFTA Qualifying Festival for the British Short Film award.

Please see full rules and terms on the Film Freeway submissions page.


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