Open City Documentary Festival Preview and Competition

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Open City Documentary Festival Preview and Competition

Pi Film&TV previews this year’s festival

Open City Documentary Festival returns to London from 16-21 June, bringing us the best in international documentary. For the first time, the festival will be branching out from UCL to venues across London, including the newly refurbished Regent Street Cinema.

The festival, now in its fifth year, opens with a screening of ‘Sam Klemke’s Time Machine‘ at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Sam Klemke began obsessively documenting his life on film in 1977, the same year that NASA launched Voyager into deep space carrying a time-capsule designed to represent life on earth to extra-terrestrials. The man himself will be in attendance at the screening and will give a Q&A. Afterwards, Open City Docs moves to the Horse Hospital for the opening night party.

Open City Docs, founded by UCL Anthropology lecturer Michael Stewart, continues to have strong ties with the university; several of the festival screenings have been organised in partnership with UCL departments.

Alice Cares‘, in partnership with the UCL Faculty of Engineering, tells the story of Alice, a care robot who moves in with three single women as an experiment for potential future caregiving options for the elderly. She may be only 60cm tall, but Alice makes a big impression on the women who invite her into their homes. This screening will be followed by Q&A with director Sander Burger and by a drinks reception.

The UK Premiere of ‘Beijing Ants‘ will take place at the Regent Street Cinema, in partnership with The Bartlett. This film is director Ryuji Otsuka’s personal diary of his family’s experience of finding a new home after their rent was suddenly raised in Beijing, a city that is now among the most expensive in the world for renting property. The screening will be followed by Q&A with the director and by a drinks reception.

Best of Enemies’ will be screening in partnership with UCL Faculties of Arts & Humanities, Social & Historical Sciences. In the lead up to the 1968 American general election the struggling television network ABC hired two great public intellectuals, the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. to debate the issues of their day live on air. The film is a gripping behind the scenes account of this now legendary series of debates.

Those concerned with animal welfare should check out ‘The Chimpanzee Complex’, in which director Marc Schmidt follows the daily lives of chimpanzees and their carers in a Dutch rescue centre. Having been raised by humans in captivity, the chimpanzees must now be resocialized with their own species. This film, among others at the festival, will be shown at the new Bertha DocHouse, one of the first dedicated documentary screens in London.

SSEES students should note the spotlight on Croatia: four diverse Croatian films will be screened at this year’s festival. ‘The Waiting Point’, a portrait of a small, crowded bus terminal in Rijeka, will be shown at the newly opened, volunteer-run Deptford Cinema.

Open City Documentary Festival aims to nurture and champion the art of creative documentary through a diverse programme of film screenings and industry talks and workshops. To explore the full programme and to purchase tickets, please click here.

The organisers are giving away a pair of tickets to the Opening Night screening and after-party. Email with your name and the name of your companion for a chance to win. 

Open City Documentary Festival Preview and Competition Reviewed by on June 14, 2015 .

Pi Film&TV previews this year’s festival



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