Open City Documentary Festival

7 – 13 September 2022
in London

News: Assembly 2019 – Participant Testimonials


As Assembly, our feature development lab for first and second-time feature filmmakers, opens for applications for its 2020 edition, see below some testimonials from of some of the participants of the 2019 lab.

“Assembly was a fantastic experience all round. We heard from a variety of great filmmakers who gave important insights, made new friends with the fellow participants and put Radio Blackout through its paces in a series of workshops which really helped us to refine the pitch and the project more generally. I’d encourage everyone to apply! Thanks to Chloe and the whole Assembly team!”Alistair Payne-James (producer, Radio Blackout)

“Start to finish, Assembly was a joy. The talks were well thought-out, the mentor we were paired up with was such a great fit for our project (the brilliant Sierra Pettengill) and the pitch at the end was far less torturous than we all feared. But most of all, the simple fact of hanging out with such a bright, brilliant group of filmmakers got my mind buzzing with ideas. I made friends, learnt loads and our project took a huge step forward. Not really sure what more you can ask for in five days.“ – Matt Houghton (director, Radio Blackout)

“Assembly was and continues to be an empowering experience that felt wholly personalized for us and our project. Open City provided a safe space for us to be vulnerable. It’s been the highlight of our development process.” – Ilana Coleman and Jamie Goncalves (director and producer, The Inventory)

“Through Assembly Lab, I met a group of very original progressive cinematic voices who want to push the boundaries of storytelling. It was a privilege to be amongst them in such an open and nurturing environment. I was inspired and challenged.” – Nada Riyadh (director, Land of Women)

“In Assembly Lab 2019, we had the space and the time to share our thoughts, ideas and fears with the experts and peer filmmakers. It was great to meet mentors who understand the fragility of the development stage and can embrace it. Also, to push us to explore the core of our creative process.” – Ayman El Amir (producer, Land of Women)

“Kudos on an invigorating and thought-provoking lab, it was a privilege to be among so many cool and inspiring stories and individuals.” – Charly Feldman (director, I Am Sarah, With An H)

“One of the most valuable aspects of Assembly was the opportunity to work closely with a thoughtfully chosen mentor – we benefited hugely from our time with Maya Mumma (editor on O.J.: Made in America, amongst many other fascinating credits) and particularly from her insights on working with complex stories that cover long time periods, reframing well known stories into more subtle and layered narratives. It is rare to have the time and space for such meetings and mentorship – it was perfectly timed for our team, as we prepared to move into production.” – Ana Naomi de Sousa, Omar El-Khairy and Elhum Shakerifar (directors and producer, NAZ)