Open City Documentary Festival

Open City Documentary Festival Logo

Open City Documentary Festival creates an open space in London to nurture and champion the art of non-fiction cinema. Based at the UCL Centre for Public Anthropology, we deliver training programmes, an annual documentary festival, the bi-annual Non-Fiction journal and events throughout the year that aim to challenge and expand the idea of documentary in all its forms.

Open City Documentary Festival seeks to nurture experimentation within the expanded field of non-fiction cinema, from artists’ moving image to documentary, the essay film, audio and cross-media works. In conceiving the festival as a discursive space, we intend to provoke dialogue, creation and research through the collective participation in screenings and events. Some of the artists and filmmakers screened at the festival in recent years include Luke Fowler, Kazuo Hara, Laura Huertas Millán, Onyeka Igwe, Naomi Kawase, Zhao Liang, Simon Liu, Rosine Mbakam, Pablo Álvarez Mesa, Miko Revereza, Jessica Sarah Rinland, Renate Sami, Haneda Sumiko, Alia Syed, Anya Tsyrlina, Ana Vaz and Morgan Quaintance.

Non-Fiction is a journal from Open City Documentary Festival. The publication was launched in 2020 with the aim to create a space for considered, critical and creative writing on non-fiction, featuring contributions offered in response to moving image, audio or cross-media, both contemporary and historical. The first two issues (#1 Power and #2 Network) were edited by Matt Turner and published in print form. In 2021, Non-Fiction moved online in order to be more widely accessible. We aim to publish two issues a year, each edited by a different guest editor. Non-Fiction #3 The Living Journal is edited by Olivier Marboeuf and Ana Vaz. Non-Fiction #4 Peculiar Forms is edited by Aily Nash.


Media Reform Coalition

The Media Reform Coalition was set up in September 2011 in the wake of the UK media’s phone-hacking crisis. Since then, it has sought to coordinate effective development of the debate around media regulation, ownership and democracy among civil society groups, academics, campaigners and citizens.

We work with partner groups and support individuals to produce research and to organise campaigning activities aimed at creating a media system that operates in the public interest. The Media Reform Coalition is committed to:

  • Supporting media pluralism
  • Defending ethical journalism
  • Protecting investigative and local journalism.

VHS Activism Archive

The VHS Activism Archive holds information and resources connected to 184 tapes first accumulated and used for teaching and research by one media scholar and video artist: The Alexandra Juhasz VHS Collection. It reflects her queer feminist media praxis with particular attention to activist and experimental media concerning AIDS, anti-racism and the art and expression of people of color, queers of many stripes, lesbians, femmes, and women, as well as documentary and video.

A small number of the tapes have been digitized with their makers’ permission. In other cases we provide access to their current homes online. We have built in some information and context for all the tapes, but always seek more.

The Archive also holds graduate student work generated by re-engaging and activating 12 of the tapes in the collection with a particular focus on AIDS, sexuality, women and people of color.

We are eager to engage the tapes’ makers and communities, as well as to encourage new uses and users. Please feel free to contact us about more resources and information, as well as documentation of your own activation of the collection. In these ways, the dead tapes can stay alive, be useful, while the collection grows to take the shape of a larger community of practice

Jump Cut Group

Jump Cut Group logo

The Jump Cut Group started its activity in 2015 by producing the short film Strike. The group continued their activities by producing and making three more short films called Attack Of The Present To Other Times, I Did Not See Zaaven Again (about Zaaven Ghoukasian) and Exiled Portrait, as well as two feature films named Anti-Light and The Whole Reality In A Small Unit Of Time.

The most important goal of the group members is their attitude towards cinema and filmmaking. Above all, the Jump Cut Group is looking for a collective way and informal form of film production and distribution.

Because it adheres to the well-known manifesto of militant cinema that it denies films about “politics” in favor of making films “in a political” way, that is, to change the way of production and not just the content and form.

For this purpose, it is enough to refer to our history to the experience of “Cinema Azad or Free Cinema” in the forties and fifties in Iran, which formed a kind of collective filmmaking based on friendship with unique organizations by Basir Nasibi and his friends.

So it was an indisputable principle for us:

Free and friendly filmmaking, no money involved and no need for an official release, because in the age of the Internet and by power of sharing contents online, the dream of militant cinema, which is the producing and distributing independently of capital and market, has been realized to some extent.

Jump Cut is a call for a free, contemporary and emergency cinema.

Jump Cut group activities is not limited to making movies, as it concentrates on theory of film and critics. The group has published the book titled The Beginning Of The End‎, an essay about Dziga Vertov group, and also published series of an online e-zine by the name of Jump Cut Papers.

These kind of research and activities are mainly purposed to collect and present militant cinema and to distribute avant garde and less watched movies to followers.

Finally, the Jump Cut Group is an idea for reviewing history of pictures in form of making and distributing movies. It’s a movement for a free and urgent cinema.

Narratives de la Resistència (NardeRes)

Narratives de la Resistència

The research group Narratives of Resistance (NardeRes) was born from the common purpose of its members to address current media phenomena from a holistic point of view, which is based on the theoretical foundations of perspectives such as Cultural Studies, Audience Studies, critical theory, narrative and structuralist semiotics, social constructivism, Game Studies and Gender Studies.

The group, made up of academics and media professionals, aims to investigate the messages, representations and media practices of the so-called media life of today’s society, not only to analyze those that respond to hegemonic discourses, but, above all, to highlight those who oppose it: the minority, the marginal, the resistant.

The areas of activity of the group are, therefore, various and varied, and combine academic and practical perspective, basic and applied research, quantitative and qualitative methodologies: social communication, documentary cinema, fantasy cinema, serial fiction. , interactive narrative and ludo-fiction, social media, journalism, democracy and technology, film margins and migration, cross-media production, cultural resistance, musical audiovisual, cultural audiovisual, cultural minorities.


Feminist Media Studio

The Feminist Media Studio critically engages the complexity of representations of gendered and queer social life in differential contexts around the globe. It supports collective and collaborative study, as well as activist, curatorial, and artistic engagements which draw from the political potency and aesthetic experimentation of feminist media practice. Such creative and critical aesthetic engagements are firmly located in the feminist politics of the contemporary moment, an age marked by the proliferation of new media that have radically reconstituted not only the character of visual culture but also its channels of transmission and circulation.

The Feminist Media Studio comprises two platforms:

1. Creation. An Open Studio

The Open Studio provides a space for media production and critical engagement across the genres of media and contemporary art, independent and documentary cinema, public art and performance, popular culture, web-based interventions, and ‘quick and dirty’ media. The Studio will seek to devise aesthetic strategies for exploring gendered subjectivity and sexuality, and for making visible persistent forms of gender-based and sexual oppression and exploitation, attentive to the challenges of working across racial, gendered, class-based, historical and geographical divisions.

2. Circuits. A Research Network

The decentralized, sometimes autonomous, collective, and networked nature of culture production requires academic accounts that are themselves decentralized, collaborative and networked. The Circuits platform builds a research network to foster work in practice-led research, encourage collaborative and co-authored work among feminist scholars, students, artists and activists, and institute a networked infrastructure for virtual, broadcast, and face-to-face encounters.


Video Activism

How can political videos from civil society effectively assert themselves on the Social Web against the superiority of advertising, entertainment and propaganda? This is the aim of a joint research project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and conducted by the FU Berlin, the University of Bonn and Film University Babelsberg.

The Video Activism project is made possible by the collaboration between Prof. Dr Jens Eder (Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf), Prof. Dr Britta Hartmann (University of Bonn) and Dr Chris Tedjasukmana (Freie Universität Berlin). It is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.


NOW! A Journal of Urgent Praxis

NOW! A Journal of Urgent Praxis

Residing at a crossroads between film journal and radical newsreel, Now! A Journal of Urgent Praxis foregrounds films and writings made in rapid yet eloquent engagement with the here and now of political and cultural life. Now! aims to stimulate an alternate form of practice across critical writing and experimental cinema, operating in a different time signature than the academic quarterly, museum exhibition, or film festival. Now! responds to crisis. Now! offers the radical reply.

Despite changes in technology that make it easier than ever, few journals make films available as a central component of their content. Fewer still foreground new films, emphasizing the archive instead. And none focus on films that place an equal weight between formal innovation and political urgency. Now! confronts this absence directly.

In the age of YouTube, the radical newsreel awaits a spectacular, transformative re-birth. Now! is digital flint and steel.

Join us NOW!:

Film & Video Distribution Database

From the late 1960s the London Film-makers’ Co-op, The Other Cinema, LVA, Circles, Cinema of Women, Film and Video Umbrella, Cinenova, London Electronic Arts, and Lux helped build the reputation of British artists’ and independent film and video at home and abroad. The Film & Video Distribution Database (FVDD) explores the histories of these organisations, their promotional initiatives, their distribution and exhibition activities, the inroads they made into television and galleries, the challenges they overcame to build audiences, and the arts funding landscape that could cause them to sink or swim (see Scope for more details).


James Agee Cinema Circle

The James Agee Cinema Circle is an association of national and international critics, historians and film scholars who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media and analysis.

We have come together to form the first progressive critics organization, in the belief that idealistic perspectives, voices and diverse ideological visions in film criticism that speak with social conviction and consciousness, are sorely lacking as a public platform.