The London Documentary Festival 2011
This festival, and our ongoing teaching and training activity that continues throughout the year, encourages the self-representation and self-expression of diverse cultural groups, locally in London, but beyond in Great Britain, in Europe and far beyond.
Open City – why we are here?
We have set up Open City because we believe there needs to be a place to hear the stories that matter: stories that, all too often, remain untold: lives unrecognised, abuses ignored, follies forgotten, connections unrealised, joys uncelebrated. We need an occasion to celebrate the meeting of art and journalism that defines great documentary. In the modern world we have no choice: it is in the company of strangers that we live our lives. Nowhere is this more true than here in one of the great "open cities" of our times. Living among strangers brings risks and rewards. But it also brings a now familiar and divisive conflict between solidarity and diversity: we are happy to support those we feel to be like ourselves, but what about newcomers, strangers, peoples who make very different life choices than ours? In various ways the films we show in Open City and the festival itself, aim to mitigate this conflict by asking that age old question: who is my brother, with whom do I share mutual obligations? Documentary film emerged one hundred years ago, hand in hand with mass society and with mass democracy. When government is achieved by public deliberation and reasoned debate, we need institutions where complex cultural dialogues can come into being. We need institutions that foster a culture of tolerance and the acceptance of diversity. We need places that sustain commonality, reciprocity and toleration. Open City is such a place. This festival, and our ongoing teaching and training activity that continues throughout the year, encourages the self-representation and self-expression of diverse cultural groups, locally in London, but beyond in Great Britain, in Europe and far beyond. Our MyStreet digital doomsday portrait of modern Britain is just one form of this. (www.mystreetfilms.com) Anyone can contribute. And where better to do this than from London’s Global University – University College London – founded nearly two centuries ago to open up the cloisters of learning to those who had been historically excluded, women, Jews, religious non-conformists. A place where borders and barriers are seen as an invitation to transgress, to exchange with strangers, to breach the conventions that keep us apart.>> Read more on the web at external link