MOTHERLAND OR DEATH, Vitaly Mansky
MOTHERLAND OR DEATH, Vitaly Mansky

The 2017 Open City Documentary Festival today announced the program for the 7th edition of the festival, taking place in London from September 5 to 10, 2017.

The festival opens on Tuesday September 5 with the UK Premiere of Ziad Kalthoum’s TASTE OF CEMENT an inventively cinematic portrait of exiled Syrian workers trapped in a skyscraper that they are building in Beirut and unable to shake off memories of the shelling of their own homes.

The UK Premiere of Lee Ann Schmitt’s PURGE THIS LAND will close the Festival on Sunday September 10. The film retells the history of racism and slavery in modern America through the prism of John Brown – a white, militant abolitionist – who was sentenced to death in 1859 for a failed attempt to start an armed revolution. Poignant and thought-provoking, the film spans one hundred and seventy years of American history and will screen at Regent Street Cinema.

IN FOCUS: VITALY MANSKY

Open City will celebrate the distinguished career of Ukrainian-born Vitaly Mansky – one of Russia’s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers who now lives in exile in Riga. Mansky has tirelessly chronicled political and social developments in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union through examining the struggles of everyday-lives.

The films in this selection blend myth, reality, propaganda and fiction to reveal the many-sided legacy of the Soviet dream.

PRIVATE CHRONICLES. MONOLOGUE, Vitaly Mansky, Russia, 1999

BROADWAY. BLACK SEA, Vitaly Mansky, Russia, 2002

GAGARIN’S PIONEERS, Vitaly Mansky, Russia, 2005

MOTHERLAND OR DEATH, Vitaly Mansky, Russia, 2011

IN FOCUS: PIERRE-YVES VANDEWEERD

Open City will also showcase the work of Belgian filmmaker Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd by screening his three most recent films – a loose trilogy – including the UK Premiere of this year’s THE ETERNALS.

Filmed mostly in 16mm and Super 8, and with scores from British avant-garde musician Richard Skelton, these extraordinary works investigate the correlation between war, madness and memory through the lives of those who are victims of conflict and exile.

LOST LAND, Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, Belgium, 2011

FOR THE LOST, Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, Belgium, 2014

THE ETERNALS (UK Premiere), Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, Belgium, 2017

AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS:

GRAND JURY AWARD

BITTER MONEY (UK Premiere), Wang Bing, China, 2016

FROM A YEAR OF NON-EVENTS (UK Premiere), Ann Carolin Renninger & René Frölke, Germany, 2017

PURGE THIS LAND (UK Premiere), Lee Anne Schmitt, USA, 2017

THE ETERNALS (UK Premiere), Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, Belgium, 2017

EMERGING INTERNATIONAL FILMMAKER AWARD

A MOON OF NICKEL AND ICE (UK Premiere), François Jacob, Quebec, 2016

ATELIER DE CONVERSATION (UK Premiere), Bernhard Braunstein, Austria / France / Liechtenstein, 2017

MEMORY EXERCISES (UK Premiere), Paz Encina, Paraguay, 2016

TASTE OF CEMENT (UK Premiere), Ziad Kalthoum, Germany / Lebanon / Syria / United Arab Emirates / Qatar, 2017

OFFICIAL SELECTION

ALMOST HEAVEN, Carol Salter, UK, 2017

BURNING OUT (UK Premiere), Jerome Le Maire, Belgium, 2016

CALABRIA (UK Premiere), Pierre-François Sauter, Switzerland, 2016

CONTEMPORARY COLOR (UK Premiere), Ross Bros, USA, 2016

CRAIGSLIST ALLSTARS (UK Premiere), Samira Elagoz, The Netherlands / Finland, 2016

DARK SKULL (UK Premiere), Kiro Russo, Bolivia / Qatar, 2016

DONKEYOTE, Chico Pereira, Germany / UK / Spain, 2017

LIBERA NOS, Federica Di Giacomo, Italy / France, 2016

LINEFORK (UK Premiere), Jeff Silver, USA, 2016

95 AND 6 TO GO (UK Premiere), Kimi Takesue, 2016

PHOTON (UK Premiere), Norman Leto, Poland, 2017

PUMP (UK Premiere), Joseph David, France, 2017

REBEL OF THE KEYS, Mark Charles, UK, 2016

SANCTUARY (UK Premiere), Ashley Sabin / David Redmon, Canada / USA / United Kingdom, 2017

SMALL TALK (UK Premiere), Hui-chen Huang, Taiwan, 2016

SPECTRES ARE HAUNTING EUROPE, Maria Kourkouta / Niki Giannari, France / Greece, 2016

THE LURE, Tomas Leach, UK, 2016

SPECIAL EVENTS:

MARC ISAACS: OUT OF TIME
In his first ever video exhibition, filmmaker Marc Isaacs will present four new works offering an encounter with intimacy, human fragility and the passage of time. Isaacs goes back to original material gathered over a fifteen year period and which has mostly never been screened before.

THE PLAYROOM BOOTHS / DON’T ASK, DON’T APOLOGISE
Three story enclaves will bring together an immersive set, video projection and interviews taking people into the story of rave, soundsystem and queer culture – exploring how these alternative scenes not only changed the musical landscape but also, by physically reclaiming city space changed how we relate to its invisible power structures.

THE ISLAND OF ST MATTHEWS
Open City will present a special prelude to Tate Modern’s So I Can Get Them Told season, a retrospective of the films of American artist Kevin Jerome Everson. This screening features Everson’s 16mm feature film The Island of St. Matthews, a poem and paean to the citizens of Westport, Mississippi, recalling all that was lost during the 1973 flooding of a nearby river.

EDGE
The Edge project is a narrative driven exploration of contemporary situated practice in ‘edge’ urban settings, focusing on in-between spaces and the creative ways to which these can be used. Screenings will be held at three locations each of which are situated on the High Speed 1 rail link (HS1) route between London and Folkestone and will explore one of the symposiums’ three key themes – Gateway, Periphery and Border. In association with Urban Labs, Film + Place + Architecture and The Bartlett School of Architecture.

WHICKER’S WORLD FOUNDATION PRESENTS: WE WERE KINGS
Open City will host the World Premiere of We Were Kings in partnership with the British Library, a rediscovery of Burma’s lost royal family. Deposed and exiled by Britain, they are now emerging from the shadows in a country experiencing seismic change. This intriguing documentary won the Whicker’s World Foundation inaugural Funding Award for historian and first time director, Alex Bescoby.

ANAGRAM PRESENTS THE DAY IS MY ENEMY
This special live event will bring together rarely seen film archive charting the story of how music subculture has shaped the metropolis with a live soundtrack scored in collaboration with musicians.

SHORTS:

This year’s shorts’ program promises an eclectic selection of shorts from across the globe and compilations include A PLACE TO BE, FRAGMENTS OF THE INFINITE, LOST IN TIME and SMALL HOURS. The nominees for the Best UK Short Award include Duncan Cowles’ ALEXITHYMIA, Oliver Wilkins’ HIDDEN, Tom Jeffrey’s INHERENT and Marie-Cécile Embleton’s THE WATCHMAKER. DocHeads will also be partnering with Open City to present a special program of some of the best short form documentaries made in the UK.

JOHN SMITH: LOST IN LEYTONSTONE
John Smith’s short films, known for their anarchic wit and oblique narratives, create mysterious and sometimes fantastical scenarios from documentary records of everyday life. Open City will screen a trio of his short films (THE BLACK TOWER, SLOW GLASS and BLIGHT) which all focus on the built environment and were made between 1985 and 1996, while Smith was living in short-term housing in Leytonstone.

BY HYPER MEDIA, FOR HYPER MEDIA
Lost Futures will present a series of recent artists’ moving image works exploring the internet, digital technologies, virtual realities and other forms of networked existence. Together these short films open a window into outer realms of the digital present, ruminate on our connected past, or speculate towards unknown futures.

INDUSTRY EVENTS:

Open City offers a comprehensive package for industry delegates which includes entry to press and industry screenings, workshops, surgeries, panels and access to the Festival Video Library.

Highlights from the industry programme include: a Vitaly Mansky masterclass, Mania Akbari talking The Body Politic, John Smith’s Give Chance a Chance, a workshop discussing the fictionalising turn in Radical Anthropological film, the Essay Film Festival workshop on bringing experimental sensibility into documentary film culture, a day dedicated to sound and audio including sessions presented by In the Dark and School of Sound and a masterclass on intimacy and performance from Kaitlin Prest of The Heart podcast.

There will also be five days of VR exhibition and discussion. On Wednesday 6 September, Digital Catapult will host six sessions with leading international immersive and interactive storytellers. Speakers include Arnaud Colinart (Notes on Blindness), Lindsey Dryden (Unrest) and William Uricchio (MIT Open Documentary Lab). From Thursday 7, eight of the best current VR experiences will be on public exhibition at Bargehouse, Southbank.

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