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News: Non-Fiction, A Journal From Open City Documentary Festival


Non-Fiction is a new print journal from Open City Documentary Festival, launching in 2020 and due to be published twice a year.

This publication aims to offer a space for considered, critical and creative responses to non-fiction, featuring contributions offered in response to moving image, audio or cross-media, both contemporary and historical. Each issue will contain new writing responding to a theme.

Non-Fiction intends to connect an increased interest in documentary orientated work with a platform for more interesting and engaging criticism made in relation to it. It works from the understanding that criticism can itself be an act of creation, and that there is no fixed format that a critical response should take. Tonally, the journal will be accessible but intellectual, aiming to centre a variety of voices and perspectives – both in terms of contributors and subject matter. 

After experimenting with commissioning criticism before – having published short essays for films in our 2019 festival programme from some of our favourite writers around the world, as well as catalogue essays throughout the festival’s history – we wanted to expand this initiative by creating a space where we can commission writing independent of our own programming and contribute towards wider discussion and debate surrounding non-fiction and its place in the world.

The publication is created in response to a demand: the lack of (non-academic) outlets that engage seriously, or specifically, with non-fiction. Rather than following release cycles or making distribution a requirement, the journal will offer a platform for open and varied responses to international, independent new non-fiction media, as well as encouraging the reappraisal of retrospective work.

As opportunities for artists and filmmakers to receive coverage has diminished alongside falling advertising revenues, a market for independent publishing with a different set of priorities has emerged. Publications like Another Gaze, cléo, Fireflies, Little Joe, World Records and NANG have offered alternative, specialised spaces for engaging and unorthodox criticism. This journal intends to situate itself within this space, but with a focus that looks entirely at non-fiction.

Designed by Passport, each issue will be something to be read and returned to, offering prominence and permanence to the same sort of non-fiction work that the festival seeks to nurture and champion.

Non-Fiction will be a biannual print publication, with each issue containing a variety of responses to a given theme. The theme for the first issue will be POWER.

The first issue will be available to buy online, at our festival, and in select bookshops in Spring 2020. Our Call for Pitches has now closed. The first issue is now on sale.