Bradford has been named the world’s first UNESCO City of Film and is now part of the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network.
The UNESCO designation recognises Bradford’s aim to use the popularity and accessibility of film, as a major tool for regeneration, cultural development and social inclusion.
To win the title, Bradford had to show it had a heritage of film production that has made a significant contribution to the film industry’s technical development. The bid included a showreel of selected extracts from a number of Bradford-related films including classics such as Room at the Top and the latest work of British Bollywood.
Speaking about his hometown becoming the first ever UNESCO City of Film, Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy, said, “This is testimony to the City’s dedication to the film and media industry. Not only has Bradford played a crucial role in the story of cinema and helped shape its history, it has inspirational plans to enhance its future relationship with film, which will benefit both the local community and the industry at large.”
The bid for the designation was chaired by Bradford-born Steve Abbott who has produced films such as Brassed Off, A Fish Called Wanda and American Friends. Abbott said: “Whilst it is Bradford’s heritage in film which has secured the designation, I am confident we can bring further credit to both Bradford and UNESCO with our ongoing City of Film project.”
Bradford is only the third British city – after Edinburgh City of Literature and Glasgow City of Music – to receive a UNESCO designation as part of its Creative Cities Network. The network is designed to promote the social, economic and cultural development of cities in both the developed and developing world.
Bradford now hopes to build its local and international profile encourage more film-makers and enthusiasts to come to the area.