News: Open City Documentary Festival 2020 / Digital Edition


The tenth edition of Open City Documentary Festival takes place on Sept 9th – 15th. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Open City Documentary Festival 2020 will take place as a digital edition.

Festival Director Chloe Trayner says: “As a festival, bringing people together has always been at the heart of our activity. Although our understanding of what that means has shifted during the ongoing global pandemic, we’re hopeful that we can still create an open space with our new digital iteration for people to gather and celebrate the art of non-fiction together. 

Our goal is to continue to enable connections between artists and filmmakers as well as audiences and industry delegates in a way that feels appropriate for our current reality. We look forward to celebrating our tenth edition by sharing a version of Open City Documentary Festival that will be accessible to a larger and wider audience than has been possible before.”

The Film Programme will present a curated selection of new work across 23 film events. These will be available to UK audiences as affordably priced video-on-demand rentals, with windowed access available during the festival period. Filmmaker Q&As will be included in the rental packages alongside complementary shorts selected by filmmakers or the festival programming team. A number of additional special events will also take place online, with full details to follow.

Savings made on the costs of arranging filmmaker travel and accommodation will be redirected towards granting an increased appearance fee to all filmmakers screening new work at the festival, in addition to the usual screening fees that are paid to each selected film.

The Industry Programme will be streamed live online during the week of the festival, and will be free to access worldwide. It will feature 20+ events involving leading non-fiction practitioners working across film, audio and cross-media. 

The regular Expanded Realities programme has also been adapted for a digital format, with a number of selected and commissioned interactive projects accessible at home as in-browser experiences. These will also be free to access worldwide. 

The festival print catalogue will still be published, but has been converted into an adapted form for those navigating the festival from home. It will contain information about our film programme, alongside specially commissioned essays from a selection of writers.. 

Open City Documentary Festival 2020 will have four film competitions, all with cash prizes attached. Feature films will compete for the Open City Award, and the Emerging Filmmaker Award. Shorts will be recognised through the UK Short Award and the International Short Award, new for this year. 

The full programme for Open City Documentary Festival 2020 will be announced on August 11th, with all film events on sale on the same day.

Press accreditation for the festival is available now, and is free. Please apply here before August 21st. Industry and student festival accreditation will be available shortly, with full details to follow.