Open City Documentary Festival creates an open space in London to nurture and champion the art of non-fiction cinema. Based at the UCL Centre for Public Anthropology, we deliver training programmes, an annual documentary festival, the bi-annual Non-Fiction journal and events throughout the year that aim to challenge and expand the idea of documentary in all its forms.

The 14th edition of Open City Documentary Festival takes place in venues across London between 24th – 30th April 2024 and will present a diverse programme of international contemporary and retrospective non-fiction film, audio and cross media, as well as filmmaker Q&As, panels, talks and workshops.

Open City Documentary Festival seeks to nurture experimentation within the expanded field of non-fiction cinema, from artists’ moving image to documentary, the essay film, audio and cross-media works. In conceiving the festival as a discursive space, we intend to provoke dialogue, creation and research through the collective participation in screenings and events. Some of the artists and filmmakers screened at the festival in recent years include Ute Aurand, Robert Beavers, Betzy Bromberg, Mary Helena Clark, Alexandra Cuesta, Luke Fowler, Kazuo Hara, Laura Huertas Millán, Onyeka Igwe, Naomi Kawase, Zhao Liang, Simon Liu, Rosine Mbakam, Pablo Alvárez Mesa, Miko Revereza, Ben Rivers, Jessica Sarah Rinland, Riar Rizaldi, Renate Sami, Haneda Sumiko, Tsuchimoto Noriaki, Alia Syed, Maryam Tafakory, Anya Tsyrlina, Ana Vaz and Morgan Quaintance.

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

1. Open City Documentary Festival (OCDF) screening programmes are curated and all entries will be fully considered by the Programming Team.

2. OCDF accepts non-fiction moving image and audio work of all lengths and subject matter, originating from anywhere in the world.
3. OCDF accepts submission of non-fiction film and video, cross-platform projects and audio works completed after 1 January 2023.
4. All entries must be in English or contain English subtitles. Please note that the festival may not be able to consider non-English entries submitted without subtitles, or supplementary printed translations.
5. Open City Documentary Festival has no strict premiere requirements, but the programming team will prioritise works that have yet to receive a public screening in London prior to OCDF 2024.

6. Only completed entries (Entry Form, Preview Screener, Payment) will be processed and considered for screening.
7. Each entry must be accompanied by the appropriate Entry Fee. Entry Fees are not refundable. Projects entered with the incorrect entry fee will not be considered for selection.
8. OCDF accepts FilmFreeway and Vimeo Secure Online Screeners for preview purposes. Whilst we can also accept DVDs, this must be additional to an online screener. For cross-platform projects, please include an online screener if possible or a downloadable project file.
9. DVD entries must be marked with production title and tracking number. Please ensure that DVDs are checked on a stand-alone player before dispatch.
10. DVD entries must be sent to:

Open City Documentary Festival
UCL Anthropology – SCCI
UCL East – Marshgate
7 Sidings Street
London E20 2AE

11. OCDF is unable to return preview copies.
12.OCDF accepts completed films and films at fine and rough-cut stage for consideration. When submitting a work-in -progress, please state clearly within the entry form so that the programming team are aware when viewing.
13. OCDF can only accept resubmissions when substantial changes have been made. Please contact the programmers if you have any specific questions.

14. Waivers (free entry) are granted only to select applicants who have been invited to submit by the Programming Team.
15. If selected, the cost of postage and packing of screening copy (inbound and outbound) will be covered by OCDF. In the case that the screening materials are being shipped direct to another festival or venue, OCDF would expect the receiving organisation to cover the outbound shipment from OCDF.
16. OCDF offers standard screening fees to submitted projects selected for the festival. OCDF’s standard screening fees for films and audio are as follows:

£275 (inc. VAT) for works over 60 minutes
£140 (inc. VAT) for works over 40 minutes
£70 (Inc. VAT) for works under 40 minutes. OCDF offers a standard screening fee of £200 (inc. VAT) for cross-platform projects

17. If a project is selected for screening, the Festival will contact the entrant by e-mail. All entries will be notified by August 1st 2023 at the latest, barring unforeseen circumstances. If for some reason you haven’t received an email by this date, please check festival website for programme announcements or contact the Programming Team.
18. Following selection, the Festival will provide all successful entrants with a Screening Agreement and delivery schedule.
19. All entries are viewed and chosen by the Programming Team. Final selections are at the sole discretion of the Festival.
20. All projects selected will be made available for public viewing. All timings, date and venue details will be assigned by the Festival.

21. The Festival reserves the right to place projects into relevant programme strands.
22. If selected, the entrant grants OCDF the right to utilise publicity materials related to the production (e.g. press kits, posters, stills, etc.) for promotional purposes and to broadcast or screen clips of a maximum of five minutes.
23. If selected, the entrant must provide OCDF with a secure online screener of the complete project for the festival to make available to members of the press (if applicable).
24. Successful entries may also be used for private press screenings prior to the festival. In this case, the Festival would contact the entrant in advance.

25. Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images and content in the entry.

Overall Rating
  • Amazing curation, team and vibe. Definitely one worth checking out. Thank you for all of your hard work!

    September 2023
  • This was a small and friendly festival run by amazing volunteers and staff. It was a pleasure to revisit our VR documentary and I believe that it still holds up as an example of social documentary on contemporary life in East London. Thank you for selecting us.

    November 2022
  • Great festival made by great people. Organised, friendly, welcoming, and with real networking opportunities.

    September 2022
  • Rolla Tahir

    One of the best festival teams I've ever met. Excellent programming, and opportunities to network and learn. I would definitely go again.

    September 2019
  • ZITA Erffa

    Best festival! The people who organize it are great, they have very interesting panels and good films! Met a lot of nice people there!

    March 2019