Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Open City 2012 Curtains Down

What a pleasure it has been to have had over 130 films over four days in our second year. 
AV Hill Cinema Photo: Gloria Lin

Festival Hub, torrington Place Photo: Gloria Lin

The 2012 Open City Docs Fest was an awesome success. Thanks to the faith of the audience and ordinary wanderers in, by trusting and just going with the spirit of adventure in the programming that Ollie Wright, Lisya Yafet and Treasa O'Brien took. It introduced documentary as cinema, as art and performance and the possibilities that spiral out of engaging documentaries as a serious and rich category that challenges  itself as an artistic form as well as engaging new and wider audiences.
Grand Jury Chair Nicolas Philibert announcing Open City's 2012 Winner of the Grand Jury Award. Photo: Gloria Lin


As a genre that pushes technological capabilities, documentary film-making tells stories in tandem with fast changing formats at a grassroots level. In the case of 5 Broken Cameras, 2012's winner of the Grand Jury Award, it became an analogy for the filmmaker's relationship to their camera in embodying the story in five episodes within their smashed up gear. We've seen some unbelievably aesthetically stunningly poetic films, with inventiveness which pushes docs into the realm of cinema, designed for singular justice on the big screen.
Award Ceremony 2012 Photo: Gloria Lin
We've seen the impact of Doc in A Day and MyStreet in inspiring would-be filmmakers and the next generation and moving the goalposts of access to filmmaking. This initiative which runs year round for regular people who want to make work about their localities, put their film on an online platform for public access. Judging by the kitted-out, mini-me film crews running around with unbridled smiles from our South London Schools, perhaps we're changing  a little of how stories are told  -and what we expect a filmmaker to look like. MyStreet was looked after by the Mystreet Team Olivia Bellas and Steph Patten who also made the festival sonically stimulating.
Designer Anthony Jones logs onto MyStreet   Photo: Gloria Lin
Highlights included the Il Capo Re-scored (triple-scored?) in the Cinema Tent with an epic Ennio Morricone-style rampage with live strings and electric guitar in contrast to Strangelove's minimal, zero low-end electronica reverie. Open City is the only place where you'll get a cognitive neuroscientist explaining syntheathesia in film music with the film composer for Steve McQueen's 'Shame' - on the same panel as Anil K, Imogen Heap's crocodile-clip customised guitarist-cum-choirmaster.

Elvis is still in the building         Photo: Gloria Lin
 The joy of having a dedicated documentary film festival which is non-industry and geared towards getting people into making film and watching collectively has always been the brainchild of Dr Michael Stewart who founded and established the whole festival . Filmmakers mentioned how they felt freer to engage in open dialogues with their audience, often leading onto bigger questions as their raison-d'etre of being here, with post-film discussion spiralling way beyond alloted times. This was seen so evidently in Jessie Teggin's efforts in bringing together some incredibly dynamic panels, meshing people from different disciplines, practices and professions to give shades of grey to informed opinions on difficult social matters.
The queue for our Closing Gala feature documentary, McCullin by Jacqui Morris Photo: Gloria Lin
Amidst the Closing Gala order/panic Sabrina Dridje kept the show on the road and production managed everything to Volume 11, Gail Cohen brought her extensive BFI expertise to get the message and philosophy out there, with Talia Cohen giving a beautiful performance in the Festival Hub. Amber Dobinson owned the marketing of the festival and is the reason you got the links and the news. Josefeen Foxter was responsible for pretty much winning the best sartorial style and hair category, as well as looking after the insanely hardworking crew of Open City Docs Fest volunteers whose time and efforts are quantified in innumerable ways.
Cinema Tent midnight take down or 'Open city: The Play' Photo: Gloria Lin
Aine Cassidy rocked the design and look of all our brochures, sites and graphics. And Paul at thedodjocreative.com, if not for whom this site could not exist. Jacob Harbord dealt with crazy volumes of requests from moi for comps and looked after our box office again. Bert Hunger was our technical manager and the man in black who made the pictures happen.

Other amazing quotes from some of 2012's travelling filmmakers: Simone Casanova made The Strawberry Tree in 20 days by roaming around by himself in Cuba. He is currently blending fact and fiction in Rome.
Simone Casanova of A Strawberry Tree (left) in a sodium light halo
Steve Maing l does not like New York City cockroaches that crawl like brown prawns inside his shoes. Gwanelle Gobe can speak Chinese and can moonwalk. (See below).
Filmmaker Gwanelle Gobe (right) is simply excellent at rocking these MJ moves Photo: Gloria Lin
Adam Isenberg has an extensive background as a Catalan linguist, has an almost analogue soul with an enviable 1st generation Nokia, loves painful Turkish Youtube comedy. Despite these things, A Life Without Words was one of the most transformatively poetic films of this year.

Lights up, Light down, Open City Docs Fest Photo: Gloria Lin
So here we are at the end. We're waltzing away, but we're not going far. .....See you in at Open City Docs Fest 2013.

Email us at Open City, for an Open relationship: info@opencitylondon.com   Ta ra for now.

1 comment:

  1. The open city 2012 has pulled down its curtains. It is very sad