Open City Docs

The Art of Non-Fiction

Open City Docs is home to several projects in the world of documentary. Founded at UCL by Michael Stewart in 2010, Open City Docs is dedicated to developing and supporting non-fiction storytellers.

The organisation nurtures the next generation of filmmakers, audio producers and VR filmmakers through training programmes, an annual film festival, a feature documentary development lab, and other screening projects throughout the year.


Celebrating the art of non-fiction, Open City Documentary Festival creates an open space in London to nurture and champion the art of creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers. We aim to challenge and expand the idea of documentary in all its forms. We provide a platform for emerging talent as well as established masters working within the documentary form.

The festival takes place over seven days in venues across central London, and consists of international contemporary and retrospective non-fiction film, audio and cross media, as well as filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, workshops, networking and parties.

A digital version of the Open City Documentary Festival 2018 catalogue can be found here.

The ninth edition of the festival will take place between 4th – 10th September 2019. Submissions for the 2019 festival are now open.


Assembly is a new development lab for creative documentaries which will take place in September 2019, organised by Open City Documentary Festival.

The programme is a project-based intensive workshop for international filmmakers working on their first or second feature. Participants from six selected projects will attend a four-day programme in London with talks, workshops and one-to-one mentoring followed by a closed pitch for £10,000 development funding. Participants will also be able to attend screenings, talks and networking events as part of Open City Documentary Festival 2019.

Full details can be found here. The deadline for applications is 3rd May 2019.

Assembly is made possible thanks to the kind support of UCL.


Since 2008, Open City Docs has been organising UCL short courses covering documentary in various forms, covering filmmaking, audio and virtual reality; as well as film theory lectures, practical camera training, film editing and workshops with award-winning documentarians.

Tutors from the school also teach on UCL Anthropology’s MA in Ethnographic and Documentary Film Practice, and the MFA in Creative Documentary.

Additionally, Open City Docs delivers a range of practical filmmaking modules at Undergraduate and Masters level for UCL students.

All of these unique programmes build on the experience in professional-standard technical training that the Open City Docs School has built up as well as the world-class strengths in social science research at UCL.

A digital version of the most recent catalogue of student films is available here. Please get in touch to request a print copy.

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