A new festival of documentary filmmaking begins tonight with the Open City documentary film festival. An enormous and ambitious programme has been squeezed into four days of screening and events, taking place at the Bloomsbury campus of UCL.
Documentaries have seen a huge surge in popularity and production over the last decade or so; no longer confined to late night television strands they can often hold their own in the box office against conventional Hollywood fare. Open City reflects this well, with established directors and newcomers sitting side by side.
The whole gamut of life is run across this programme, which includes the markedly political (Michael Winterbottom's The Road to Guantanamo is one of many screening films investigating the controversial Cuban camp) and the intimately human (The Dog Hill details the remote lives of three Polish shepherds). There's also a number of world premieres and jury-awarded prizes.
UCL are hosting it all, including food markets and live music every day at Malet Place. This evening's opening night festivities include a cycle-powered open-air screening. Encouragingly in these £12-a-ticket times, all tickets are priced at a super-reasonable fiver a pop, making this festival accessible to all. And with such a broad and interesting programme, there's something for everyone here.