Open City Documentary Festival creates an open space to nurture and champion the art of creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers, and over 4,000 people attended last year's festival to enjoy some of the very best in contemporary and international documentary. Submit your film or project now for your chance to be a part of London's documentary festival.

Submissions for Open City Documentary Festival 2019 are now open. We're looking for the most exciting and innovative non-fiction storytelling in short, mid-length and feature length documentaries, short audio documentaries, as well as cross-platform projects.

Please submit your film project as either 'Documentary Short' or 'Documentary Feature', and your audio project as 'Audio Documentary Short'. Please include a link to download or stream your audio project in the submission, as FilmFreeway cannot currently accept audio files. If you have a Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, interactive, or web-based project, please use the'Cross-platform Projects' category.

Recent Jurors include: Diane Abbott (Politician), John Akomfrah (Filmmaker/Artist), Nelly Ben Hayoun (Designer & Filmmaker), Tessa Boerman (Curator/Filmmaker) Nick Bradshaw (Sight & Sound),Lucien Castaing-Taylor(Filmmaker), Katerina Cizek(Interactive Filmmaker),Charlotte Cook (Field of Vision). Bec Evans (Dazed), Carmen Gray (Film Critic), Briony Hanson (British Council), Toby Jones (Actor), Mads Mikkelsen (CPH:DOX), Chiara Marañón (MUBI), Lynn Nwokorie (Doc Society), Pawel Pawlikowski (Filmmaker), Cristi Puiu (Filmmaker), Diana Tabakov (Doc Alliance), Stephanie Spray (Filmmaker), and David Wilson (True/False).

Prizes are awarded in three categories:

Open City Award
Best Emerging International Filmmaker Award
Best UK Short Award

Winners of the feature prizes are awarded a £750 cash prize, with the Best UK Short Award winner receiving mentorship and financial support for festival travel from the British Council.

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

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

2. OCDF accepts documentary films of all lengths and subject matter, originating from anywhere in the world. OCDF accepts audio documentaries up to 10 minutes in length.
3. OCDF only accepts submission of documentary films, cross-platform projects and audio works completed after 1 January 2018.
4. All entries must be in English or contain English subtitles. Non-English entries submitted without subtitles, or supplementary printed translations, will be automatically disqualified.

5. Only completed entries (Entry Form, Preview Screener, Payment) will be processed and considered for screening.

6. Each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate Entry Fee. Entry Fees are not refundable. Projects submitted with the incorrect entry fee will not be considered for selection.
7. 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 audio documentaries, please include an online link. For cross-platform projects, please include an online screener if possible or a downloadable project file if possible.
8. DVD entries must be marked with production title and tracking number. Please ensure that DVDs are checked on a stand-alone player before dispatch.
9. DVD entries must be sent to:
Open City Documentary Festival
UCL, 14 Taviton Street
London WC1H 0BW
United Kingdom
10. OCDF is unable to return preview copies.
11.OCDF accepts completed films and films at fine cut stage for consideration. Works-in-progress may only be submitted under special circumstances. Please contact the programmers in this case.
12. OCDF does not accept resubmissions unless substantial changes have been made. Please contact the programmers if you have any specific questions.
13. Every reasonable effort will be made to protect films and tapes from damage or loss, but the Festival, and its management cannot assume liability for damage or loss.

16. Waivers (free entry) are granted only to select applicants who have been invited to submit by the Programming Team.
17. The cost of postage and packing of an entry to the Festival must be paid by the entrant.

18. If selected, the cost of postage and packing of screening copy (inbound print transport) to the Festival will be covered by OCDF. The filmmaker must cover the costs associated with the return or forwarding of screening copy (outbound print transport) after the festival.
19. OCDF is unable to offer any screening fees for projects submitted to the Festival.

20. If a project is selected for screening, the Festival will contact the entrant by e-mail. All entries will be notified by July 8th 2019 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.
21. Following selection, the Festival will provide all successful entrants with a Screening Agreement and delivery schedule.

22. All entries are viewed and chosen by the Programming Team. Final selections are at the sole discretion of the Festival.
23. All projects selected will be made available for public viewing. All timings, date and venue details will be assigned by the Festival.

24. The Festival reserves the right to place projects into relevant programme strands.
25. Films which have been distributed theatrically in the UK are ineligible for submission.
26. If selected, the entrant grants OCDF the right to utilize 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.
27. 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 and jury (if applicable).
28. 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.
29. Films that have had a public screening in London prior to OCDF 2019 will be considered ineligible for selection. There is no premiere status requirement for audio or cross-platform projects.

30. All films selected for OCDF 2019 and screening as UK Premieres, with the exception of those screening in retrospective programmes, are eligible for awards. Shortlisted films will be determined by the Programming Team.
31. Awards will be decided and presented by a team of International Jury Members.

32. 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
  • 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
  • Vincent Förster

    I had a really good time at OCDF. The focus of industry events on young and upcoming filmmakers' development was brilliant and the carefully curated and diverse programme was pushing the boundaries of the documentary form. Congrats for putting up this great, growing but still intimate festival and for having me being part of it! :)

    September 2018
  • donshades mcnulty

    Brilliant on all fronts. A PROPER festival, run by a brilliant and dedicated team who really care about storytelling.

    November 2017
  • Kees-Jan Husselman

    Very nice festival. Very good film programme and nice cinemas.

    September 2017