Announcing pre-selectors for 2023 edition


We are happy to announce the programming team for Open City Documentary Film Festival 2023.

Following an open call, we are delighted to welcome Abiba Coulibaly and Elizabeth Dexter to our Pre-Selection Panel. They will be joining returning pre-selectors Salvador AmoresWanling ChenCarmen GrayMartin GrennbergerAnjana Janardhan and Chrystel Oloukoi. In addition, programme advisors Jonathan Ali, Jesse Cumming and Shai Heredia will work closely with the festival director and director of programming in shaping the selection of films for the 2023 edition.

You can read more about our pre-selectors & programme advisors below.

As a reminder, submissions are now open for the 2023 festival. We are welcoming short, mid-length, feature, audio and cross-media non-fiction projects.


Jonathan Ali  is a film programmer and writer based in London. He is Director of Programming for Miami’s Third Horizon Film Festival, and part of the Twelve30 Collective, an initiative dedicated to screening Caribbean cinema in the UK. He began his career with the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, where he curated a retrospective of the work of Black Audio Film Collective and introduced the work of the filmmakers of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. He was previously a programme advisor at Sheffield Doc/Fest, and is a programmer for Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival.

Salvador Amores is a film programmer and writer based in Mexico City. He currently works for FICUNAM as a curator of its section devoted to avant-garde film, Umbrales, and curates film series for local museums Centro de Cultura Digital and Museo Frida Kahlo. Alongside his programming work, he oversees FICUNAM’s Foro de la crítica permanente, a yearly series of activities on and around film criticism and has written on film for publications such as Notebook, La furia umana, Variety, La vida útil, Revista de la Universidad de México and the Locarno Film Festival website. He was selected in the Locarno Critics Academy in 2019 and the Arché RAW residency of Doclisboa and Márgenes in 2022. Salvador co-founded and is one of the editors-in-chief of print-only film magazine El Cine Probablemente. He has also worked as a screenwriter and editor for the feature films Ruinas tu reino (2016) and Toda la luz que podemos ver (2020). 

Wanling Chen is a programmer and translator. Wanling holds an MA in Film and Screen Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. She was a Programme Coordinator for CNEX Chinese Doc Forum (CCDF) in 2012 and 2013 and joined TIDF in 2013 as a Programme Coordinator for TIDF Competition. She is now a Programmer for TIDF and the Head of Documentary Office at Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute. She is now based in Taipei and has been invited as a moderator, a guest speaker, an advisor, a juror, and a decision-maker for various events, workshops and festivals at home and abroad. 

Abiba Coulibaly is an assistant programmer at the BFI with a background in critical geography, interested in the intersection of ethics and aesthetics. She runs Brixton Community Cinema and launched Magnum Photos’ first UK film festival, and has recently curated screenings for the Barbican following participation in their Emerging Curators Lab, and Autograph ABP as part of Opensources. 

Jesse Cumming is a Programmer with Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival as well as a consultant with Berlinale Forum and Open City Documentary Festival. He previously served as a Programming Associate with the Toronto International Film Festival. His writing has appeared in Cinema Scope, Canadian Art, The Brooklyn Rail, MUBI Notebook, C Magazine, Hyperallergic, Another Gaze, and more. He is currently a Media Lecturer with Ryerson University’s Cairo Campus. 

Elizabeth Dexter makes books, subtitles, translations, and works closely with filmmakers in production. She is the technical manager and projectionist for the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival as well as the coordinator of a Galician lab for independent and artists’ cinema. She has worked with the BFI, Auguste Orts, Dokufest, the MoMA Department of Film and several co-op and independent cinema spaces in Europe, most recently Close-Up and Kino Armata. She is a current participant of the 2023 Baltic Analog Lab School.

Carmen Gray is a freelance journalist, film critic and programmer from New Zealand who now lives in Berlin. She has written on the arts and politics for publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Sight & Sound, The Criterion Collection, Art Review, The Calvert Journal, and Modern Times Review: The European Documentary Magazine. She is a contributing critic for The Film Verdict, and she was formerly Film Editor of Dazed & Confused magazine. She is on the selection committee for the Generation section of the Berlin International Film Festival, and the International Short Film Festival Winterthur, and has curated special screenings at film festivals in Portugal and Russia. She is an industry adviser on films at the editing stage for First Cut Lab. In her previous career as a language teacher, she completed year-long contracts in Moscow, Seoul, Prague, and Buenos Aires.

Martin Grennberger is a film critic, writer and programmer based in Stockholm. Studies at Stockholm and Södertörn universities. Screenings in New York, Stockholm, Saint Petersburg, among other places. Co-founder of Walden magazine, and co-editor (with Daniel A. Swarthnas) of a monograph on filmmaker Claes Söderquist (2022). His writings have appeared in Lumière, OEI, and Kunstkritikk. 

Shai Heredia is a filmmaker, curator, and founding director of Experimenta, the moving image art biennial of India. She has curated film programs worldwide and was the programmer of the 65th Robert Flaherty Seminar. Heredia has co-directed I Am Micro (2012) and An Old Dog’s Diary (2015) which have exhibited at prestigious film festivals and art venues internationally. Both films have won awards including a National Film Award and a BFI London Film Festival award. Heredia has contributed to journals such as The Moving Image Review and Art Journal and PUBLIC and was the co- editor of the Loud Mess issue of NANG magazine. Heredia is currently on the curatorial team for Forum Expanded Berlinale. She is based in Bangalore, where she runs the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practices at the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

Anjana Janardhan is a designer and writer based in London. She has written about film and visual culture for publications including the BFI, Sight & Sound and Non-Fiction and in 2022 was selected for New Contemporaries Writing Commissions.  

Chrystel Oloukoi is a researcher, film critic and curator, broadly interested in experimental cinema, queer cinema and Black continental and diasporic cinema. They are completing a PhD in African and African American Studies at Harvard University with focus fields in Critical Media Practice and Women, Gender and Sexuality. Their writing has appeared in Film Comment, Metrograph, Open City Docs, Sight & Sound and World Records among others. They are the co-curator of Monangambee, a nomadic panafrican microcinema in Lagos. 

Image credit (left-to-right, top-to-bottom): Jonathan Ali, Salvador Amores, Wanling Cheng, Abiba Coulibaly, Jesse Cumming, Elizabeth Dexter, Carmen Gray, Martin Grennberger, Shai Heredia, Anjana Janardhan, Chrystel Oloukoi.