Open City Documentary Festival

across London
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Intimate Distances + Q&A

[1] Director Phillip Warnell, 2020, [3] Country UK, USA , [4] Duration 61, [7] Awards Visions du Reel,

In Intimate Distances, legendary casting director Martha Wollner traverses the streets of Queens, New York City in search of an actor to play a criminal in a film. As she asks potential candidates the same set of deceptively simple questions, a straightforward setup sparks a series of fascinating and compassionate encounters between strangers. Reminiscent of surveillance imagery, cinematographer Jarred Alterman’s long-lens photography creates a sense of distance, whilst the close-miked audio conversely feels too close for comfort. Through its subtle tensions and dichotomies, Phillip Warnell’s incisive film examines how we live in public—raising complex questions about how we relate to social, urban and cinematic spaces.

UK Premiere

Screens with: A Crowd
Yeonu Ju | 2020 | South Korea | 14’

Screening includes a Q&A with director Phillip Warnell, hosted by Elena López Riera.

Read an essay about Intimate Distances by Maeve Connolly.

Available: Block 2 (Sat 12th Sept midday – Tue 15th Sept midnight BST)

Please note: this film is only available to view in the UK.

Nominated for the Open City Award Phillip Warnell is an artist-filmmaker and writer from London. He produces cinematic and art works exploring a range of philosophical, poetic and sensorial thematics: ideas on human-animal relations, the political and cinematic imagination, presence of those with prescient or extraordinary attributes and the poetics of bodily and life-world circumstances. His work is often performative, establishing elements for a film shoot as (part) event, resulting in an interplay between scripted, documented and (sometimes) precarious filming circumstances.