Open City Documentary Film Festival 2012- Top 5 Films

Last year, London finally got the documentary film festival it had always deserved: extensive selection of the best documentaries from around the world at an easily accessible central venue with a price tag that almost everyone can afford. Not only all this but also Q & A‘s and examinations of the documentary subjects after the film as well as panels, discussions and much, much more.

Personally, my time spent at Open City last year counts amongst my happiest at any film festival I’ve attended over the course of last year: even though my visits were fairly brief, the atmosphere was electric enough to make me sit up and take notice.

So it comes no surprise that this year the festival has upped its’ game: more venues and a wider selection of documentaries accompany all the positive vibe from last year promising an even successful edition.

So for the next four days if you’re in London, there’s no need to for you to miss the opportunity to see at least one film at the festival.

And to help make choosing easier for you, here’s our Top 5 choices for Open City Documentary film Festival.

Of course, there’s always more to see!

1)A LIFE WITHOUT WORDS:  Focusing on communication and the nature of language and sound, ‘A Life Without Words’ tells the story of siblings Dulce Maria and Francisco who know language at all. Their lives begin to change when their farm in Nicaragua is visited by a deaf sign-language teacher determined to teach them their first words.

The strength of this documentary is the unobtrusive way with which it choose to tell the story of the siblings: rather than pry extensively, the camera stays back, allowing life to move at its’ own speed without being manipulative.

Add to this the subject matter – the acquisition of language and communication in human beings which has always fascinated science over the decades and what you have is an engaging 71 minutes that’s sure to leave some questions in the audience’s mind after it has finished.

2)THIS SPACE AVAILABLE:  A battle is waging on our streets: between our right to an untouched public space and the media’s desire to bombard us constantly with advertising. And this timely film explores exactly what’s at stake and what we can do to stop it through interviews with activists, street artists, politician, authors and ad-men.

Fascinating, eye-opening and timely, this unusual documentary successfully show just how much of our streets really belong to Corporations who are determined to sell us their product no matter what we may think.

3) CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT: Coming on a wave of accolades from festivals across the world, ‘China Heayvweight’ tells the story of Qi Moxiang: a former boxing star and state coach who recruits and trains young fighting talent from farms and villages across Sichuan province.

The routine of the training programme is told alongside the problems brought by the students’ personal lives and the Coach’s desire to get into the right one more time. Weaving multiple-strands, the documentary manages to shine light on not only this small group but the social state of China in general.

4) SHADOWS OF LIBERTY: It’s no secret that the freedom of the media has been compromised for a long time around the world. So it’s exhilarating for a film to come forward and shed light on exactly how the structure of the media has changed in the United States within the last decade and how the power-play between government, corporations and those who control the press has resulted in abuses of power repeatedly.

Mirroring the events that have been keeping the UK headlines busy, ‘Shadows of Liberty’ shines a mirror to United States media but in doing so exposes a dire and concerning situation all across the world.

5)INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE The face of gaming has changed immensely in the last 10 years – from mobile games to tablets, new hardware has meant that the developers and publishers have had to re-think their method, their budgets and their ideas about what constitutes a game.

This time has also seen the rise of a new generation of independent designers who have shown that things can be done in an entirely different way.

Examining this community, ‘Indie Game: The Movie’ is a fascinating insight that shows the dedication, love  and money that goes into making these games some of which are closer to being works of art than any traditional computer programme.

At a time when society is obsessed with connectivity, these digital forms of expression give an opportunity to see how these mediums can be used to create lasting works as opposed to repetitive ‘products’. Fascinating and insightful, the film is in London hot from its’ Best Film Audience Award at Sheffield Documentary Film Festival.


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