What is Open City Documentary Festival?

Open City Documentary Festival creates an open space in London to nurture and champion the art of creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers. 

The festival takes place over six days in venues across London and the programme offers a chance to see the best in contemporary, international documentary as well as filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, workshops, networking and parties. The 2017 festival will take place between 5th - 10th September. 

What is Open City Docs?

The Festival is one of several projects run by Open City Docs, founded by Michael Stewart. Based at UCL, Open City Docs is where the next generation of filmmaker is nurtured and celebrated, delivering film screenings and live events, training programmes and projects throughout the year including Open City Docs Festival and Open City Docs School.

Michael Stewart - Founder of Open City Docs

Michael has worked throughout his career between film and anthropology, including stints as an independent producer and within the BBC. Film work includes State of Fear (1989, with John Blake BAFTA Award nominated) What Magdalena Said (Everyman) and Biafra: Fighting a War without Guns (Timewatch). He has written for many years about Eastern European Roma (Gypsies) - most recently editing a book about radical anti-Gypsy politics in Europe (The Gypsy Menace, PD Hurst May 2012). He lectures in Social Anthropology at UCL and is a Champion for Social Enterprise there. MyStreet and Open City Docs are the result of the transformative effect of working at UCL, an institution where social, physical and natural sciences jostle alongside the fine arts.

Founding Supporters

Matthew and Pauline Bickerton, Mick Csaky, Christopher Hird and Frances Pine.

Film Submissions



Made a documentary you want to share with the world? Submissions for Open City Documentary Festival 2018 are now open.

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 and you'll have the chance to share your work with our festival audience and get it seen by our jury of key industry figures, including leading filmmakers, artists, distribution and exhibition experts and commissioning editors. 2017 ​jurors included Veton Nurkollari (DokuFest Kosovo), Stella Bruzzi (Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, UCL), Mania Akbari (Filmmaker), Marc Schmidt (Filmmaker), Bec Evans (Dazed), Beadie Finzi (Doc Society), Xiaolu Guo (Filmmaker), Nico Marzano (ICA), Gustavo Beck (Programmer), Katarzyna Wilk (Krakow Film Festival), Philip Ilson (London Short Film Festival), Alice Cabanas (British Council), Tristan Anderson (DocHeads), Matimba Kabalika (BFI Network) and Peter Middleton (Filmmaker). Putting your short film or feature in front of our panel really can help ensure Open City Documentary Festival is just the start of your film's life.


Early Bird Deadline 18 December 2017

Regular Deadline 8 April 2017

Late Deadline 7 May 2018

The 2018 festival will take place from 4th-9th September at venues across London. 

Submit your film via FilmFreeway