Open City Documentary Festival

April 2024
across London
Event has passed

Songs for the River

Charlotte Ginsborg | 2021 | UK | 72’ | digital

Songs for the River began as a document of informal singalongs organised by the filmmaker’s neighbours in the communal spaces of their housing co-operative during the first lockdown of 2020. This is an intimate snapshot of Londoners coming together as a community – the residents of Brandrams Wharf Housing, a converted warehouse by the Thames River in Rotherhithe, range from NHS frontline workers to schoolteachers, probation officers, tradespeople, gardeners, and artists. As seasons changed and the UK moved into further lockdowns in the autumn and winter, Ginsborg continued filming her neighbours, charting their experiences, both personal and political, of the pandemic. Her film is a powerful tribute to the power of solidarity and mutual care – and a reminder of the urgency of addressing the political responsibility of the pandemic from the perspective of the people.

Followed by a conversation with Charlotte Ginsborg and participants from the film

Charlotte Ginsborg is a London based film director. Coming from a background in fine art and photography her films combine documentary, fiction and performance to create rich multi-layered portraits of diverse communities and engaging individuals. Working with dance, spoken word and song the films interrogate the complexity of contemporary cities, politically, socially and aesthetically. Recently she has worked in observational documentary to create The Taste & Ache of Action, a film that combines boxing & dancing, and The Trojans, a film following a group of Syrian Refugees living in Glasgow as they develop and perform a play at the Edinburgh Festival that combines their experiences of loss and exile with Euripides Greek tragedy, The Trojan Women.