The Open City Documentary Festival will transport you across the world, from Brazil to Greece to the UK, exploring stories that are heartbreaking, gripping and empowering. The 2018 festival will showcase 30 features, 48 shorts and host two world premieres, three European premieres and 26 UK premieres across shorts and features from more than 30 countries.
Baronesa (Opening Night UK Premiere) + Q&A with director Juliana Antunes.
Juliana Antunes’ astonishing debut follows friends Andreia and Leid as they navigate the perilous reality of daily life in the favelas of Belo Horizonte. At first glance, their days seem calm and untroubled, but the threat of violence is never far away and Andreia dreams of moving to the safer neighbourhood of nearby Baronesa.
The Swing (Closing Night UK Premiere) + Q&A with director Cyril Aris
An assured, emotionally rich film about the lies a family tells to keep their patriarch happy; and the unattended costs of their falsehood. After sixty years of marriage, Antoine and Vivi have lost their most beloved daughter; but no one has dared to tell the bedridden nonagenarian Antoine, lest his heart crack
H is For Harry (World Premiere) + Q&A with the filmmakers
A coming of age story about Harry, a charismatic 11-year old boy who arrives at secondary school in suburban London unable to read or write. With the help of Sophie, his extremely dedicated teacher, and the unfailing support of his father, he struggles to overcome the illiteracy ingrained across generations of his family.
Flight of a Bullet (UK Premiere) + Q&A with director Beata Bubenec
Beata Bubenec’s single-take documentary opens on a blown-out bridge in Ukraine’s heavily contested Donbass region. A local man—taking exception to being filmed—is bundled into a car by armed forces and driven off for interrogation.
Becoming Animal + Q&A
In this immersive, visually inventive film, directors Emma Davie (I Am Breathing) and Peter Mettler (The End of Time) journey into Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park with philosopher and cultural ecologist David Abram, searching for the liminal spaces where humans and animals meet. Challenging our human-centric view of the natural world, this subversive nature film uses cinema’s sensory tools to explore humanity’s relationship with the natural environment, proposing—through expressionistic visuals and stimulating narration—that a better balance can be achieved.
Angkar (UK Premiere) + Q&A with director Neary Adeline Hay
Born from a forced marriage during the Khmer Rouge regime, director Neary Adeline Hay travels back to Cambodia with her father, Khonsaly, to face his former Khmer Rouge persecutors. In Ta Saeng, the detention village that they lived together in as prisoners over forty years before, Khonsaly and the remaining inhabitants recount the workings of the sites that became theatres for the deaths of millions.
The Best Thing You Can Do With Your Life (UK Premiere) + Q&A with director Zita Erffa.
Zita Erffa and her brother László were always close, so when László announced he was moving to a monastery in Connecticut, Zita was shocked and confused. This choice meant that the siblings would only be allowed to see each other once a year, corresponding otherwise only through letters. Eight years on, Zita secures permission to spend two weeks filming her brother inside the monastery and finally confront him about his decision.
Breaking News (International Premiere) + Q&A with director Tomáš Bojar.
In March last year, the president of the Czech Republic was preparing to announce whether or not he would be running for re-election, and the press were ready to cover his decision. The announcement, however, was to be made at a private event at Prague Castle and no reporters were to be admitted. Filmmaker Tomáš Bojar takes us inside two newsrooms in Prague as their teams race to be the first to break the story.
With elections looming, Greece’s Golden Dawn suffers a blow when a number of their key leaders are put behind bars. This far-right party faces an uncertain future until an unlikely trio of women step up to fill the shoes their fathers, sons and husbands left behind. Golden Dawn Girls is a bizarre, disturbing exposé that reveals the complex power dynamics that underpin extreme political ideologies.
Jamilia (UK Premiere) + Q&A with director Aminatou Echard
Recorded in Kyrgyzstan, artist filmmaker Aminatou Echard’s first feature length work searches for Jamilia, the eponymous heroine of Chingiz Aitmatov’s classic 1958 novel about a young woman who, having been abducted and forced to marry, fled with her lover. Fifty years after the book’s publishing, Echard travels to meet several generations of Kyrgyz women.
OPEN CITY DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL will take place from 4-9th September 2018.