In its fourth year this summer, Open City Docs Fest will be taking over London venues including UCL, ICA, Birkbeck Cinema and Picturehouse cinemas between the 17th and 22nd June 2014.

We have narrowed down the impressive festival programme to our top five events to look out for:


Saturday, June 21, 2014 – 20:00


Victor Kossakovsky & 32 Students / 2013 / Russia/Spain / 70 mins

This will be the UK premiere of Russian documentarist Victor Kossakovsky’s collaboration with 32 of his film students at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, which documents the mass protest against the Spanish government’s austerity plans on 29th March, 2012. We have been eagerly awaiting this film for two years, snippets of which were shown as a work in progress at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2012 during a Q&A between Kossakovsky and the late Peter Wintonick. It was debated whether today’s arguably over-saturated world of film-making would benefit from large-scale collaborations of talent in order to create new inspiring masterworks, instead of littering the industry with thousands of films year after year.

Edited to a ballet score of Ludwig Minkus’s Don Quixote which was playing at the Opera House on the same day of the protest, the film promises not only Kossakovsky’s creative treatment of sound and image but also the idea of a production bigger than one individual name or one subjectivity, which seems like an apt approach to exploring the collective force of a mass protest.

SHORTS: Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab

Saturday, June 21, 2014 – 16:00


This series of shorts presents rarely seen film works by artists working within the Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) at Harvard University, an experimental laboratory directed by anthropologist Lucien Castaing-Taylor who together with Verena Paravel was responsible for Leviathan in 2012. This is a chance to see film-makers of the same ilk exploring ethnographic studies with rich aesthetics and experimentation. This event also accompanies Open City Docs’s screening of the SEL’s most recent feature Manakamana at the ICA.

UK Premiere

Sunday, June 22, 2014 – 16:00


Arash Lahooti / 2013 / Iran / 78 mins

“This moving film opens with our protagonist, the filmmaker and truckdriver Mahmood Kiyani Falavarjani, in a psychiatric hospital, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffering from inconsolable grief over the death of his pet fox – the star of his award-winning short The Raven and the Fox. His doctor encourages him to move on and Mahmood starts to make a new film: a donkey romance. But first Mahmood has to capture and tame another fox… A loving portrait of a country where truck drivers sit out at night in the parking lot to watch their colleague’s award winning films of animal fables.”

Screening with the short film The Raven and the Fox

Screening in partnership with UK Iranian Film Festival.

Jerry and Me

Saturday, June 21, 2014 – 14:00


Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa / 2012 / Iran/United States / 38 mins

The last few years have seen a rise in the film essay form, with film scholars and makers alike using existing images for audio-visual analysis and comment. This personal account of filmmaker Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa’s childhood and life in Iran and the United States, juxtaposed with clips of Jerry Lewis’ film career, is an example of the intelligent combination of themes that can occur in seemingly unrelated ideas. The visual connections made by Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa work to imaginatively illustrate the political, domestic and academic tensions that she recounts in her narration, and also present an in-depth knowledge of not only the work of Jerry Lewis but film culture at large.

Screening with Iranian Ninja.

Celluloid Underground: Tales of Cinephilia from Iran

Saturday, June 21, 2014 – 16:00

Image from Window Into Tehran by Iman Behrouzi

Image from Window Into Tehran by Iman Behrouzi

This year’s festival has a particularly strong Iranian strand exploring daily life and Cinemadoosti (Persian: cinephilia) on the public memory and imagination. Celluloid Underground: Tales of Cinephilia from Iran presents a chance to hear these themes in discussion – with clips of films, Iranian filmmakers that are participating in the festival, and expert guest speakers including Ehsan Khoshbakht (journalist), the London-based film & media partnership HarryAmir (Harry Amies and Amir Rezazadeh), Marjan Riahi (filmmaker) and Reza Haeri (filmmaker).

Reeling The Real is a website dedicated to the discussion of all kinds of moving image including documentary, film essays, archive re-use, artists' moving image and more.

One Comment on “5 picks for Open City Docs Fest 2014

  1. Pingback: Что делать в Лондоне. | infodoc

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