Announcing 2022 Programme Highlights

The 12th edition of Open City Documentary Festival, celebrating the art of non-fiction filmmaking, will take place across venues in London from 7 – 13 September. We are delighted to announce In Focus programmes with filmmakers Betzy Bromberg and Alexandra Cuesta, who will both be in attendance. We will also be presenting a month-long retrospective on the work of Japanese documentary filmmaker Tsuchimoto Noriaki (1928-2008).

The full festival programme will be announced on 27 July 2022.

In Focus: Betzy Bromberg

American avant-garde filmmaker Betzy Bromberg has been making experimental 16mm films since 1976. Bromberg spent many years as a camerawoman and supervisor for the production of optical effects in the Hollywood special effects industry, using techniques that she had honed in her astonishing kaleidoscopic experimental films. Her work touches on repressive social structures, American landscapes and environments, “play[ing] on multiple levels, merging politics and poetry, and revelling in the resultant tensions” (Holly Willis).

In Focus: Betzy Bromberg spans four decades of filmmaking and is the first in-depth survey of the artist’s work in the UK. Curated by Charlotte Procter (LUX), with Valentine Umansky & Carly Whitefield (Tate Film), it is co-presented by Tate Modern and Open City Documentary Festival, in collaboration with LUX, who distribute Bromberg’s films. This programme was made possible thanks to a Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grant from Art Fund.

In Focus: Alexandra Cuesta

Alexandra Cuesta is a filmmaker and photographer who lives and works between Ecuador and the United States. Her 16mm films and videos are portraits of public places and urban landscapes, and the people in them. Reminiscent of documentary practices such as street photography, Cuesta’s work is also rooted in the poetic and lyrical sensibility of the avant-garde.

Alexandra Cuesta’s films have been widely screened at venues and festivals such as Centre Pompidou, Viennale International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Los Angeles Filmforum, Queens Museum of Art, Punto de Vista, amongst others. In Focus: Alexandra Cuesta, the first UK survey of her work, includes all her completed films as well as other films selected by Cuesta, with an emphasis on recent productions by Ecuadorian filmmakers and artists.

With the support of Instituto de Fomento a la Creatividad y la Innovación (Gobierno de la República de Ecuador).

Film is a work of living beings: The documentary practice of Tsuchimoto Noriaki

The work of Tsuchimoto Noriaki (1928-2008) occupies a central place in the history of documentary filmmaking in postwar Japan. Mainly known for his staunch support for the Minamata disease patients and the many films he dedicated to them, Tsuchimoto’s is a rich body of work which stands out for its commitment and ethical approach. Organised by Open City Documentary Festival, this retrospective includes several of Tsuchimoto’s films from the 1960s which chronicle a modernising Japan and changing Asia, and the main trilogy of films made in collaboration with the patients of Minamata disease, made between 1971 and 1975, as well as several other films on the subject. It also includes films about themes such as student struggles, the threat brought to small communities by the forces of “progress”, and the uses of nuclear power. This retrospective programme will take place throughout September in various venues across London (ICA, Birkbeck Cinema and Close-Up Cinema), with a series of central screenings coinciding with the festival dates.

This programme is organised with Ricardo Matos Cabo and is presented in partnership with Athénée Français Cultural Centre Tokyo, Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image [BIMI], Courtisane Festival, ICA London, The Japan Foundation London, Kanatasha, Kiroku Eiga Hozon Center, Museum of the Moving Image in New York, National Film Archive of Japan, SIGLO, Toho Stella. With the support of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and special thanks to Tsuchimoto Motoko.