Common Ground

  • Darren Emerson
  • United Kingdom
  • 2019
  • 30 min
  • Immersive
  • Dutch Premiere
  • DocLab Domesticating Reality, IDFA DocLab Spotlight, DocLab Program
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In the 1960s, the Aylesbury Estate was presented as “the largest housing project in Europe.” Fifty years later, this social housing complex in central London has fallen into decay, and it’s going to be demolished to make way for new, more expensive housing.

Common Ground offers a tour of what’s left of the project, bringing together past and present in an interactive portrait that uses 360-degree video and 3-D environments, supplemented with archive footage. The tenants’ monologues are powerful, and the 3-D models of their apartments give us a glimpse of life in their neighborhood. What comes out of all the stories from people who bought a house or grew up here is how dramatically Aylesbury—and London in general—has changed.

Meanwhile, the construction site is looming in the background. There’s no escaping gentrification in London, and the original inhabitants don’t know where to go. Common Ground makes the housing crisis intimately palpable, while allowing space for background facts and political reactions as well.


  • 30 min
  • Spoken languages: English
Darren Emerson
East City Films Ltd
Executive producer
Darren Emerson, Ashley Cowan
Jessica Curran, Andrew Yardley, Darren Emerson
Marco Sandeman
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IDFA history

Dutch Premiere
DocLab Domesticating Reality
IDFA DocLab Spotlight
DocLab Program

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IDFA history