The First City of Film: Congratulations Bradford!

Beating Los Angeles, Cannes and Venice on 12 June Bradford became the first ever UNESCO City of Film.

Revealing pride for his home-town, Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy said of the award: “This is superb news for Bradford and 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 UNESCO award (United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) means that Bradford is now part of the Creative Cities Network.

The only other two UK cities awarded UNESCO status, are Edinburgh City of Literature and Glasgow City of Music. Designed to promote the social, economic and cultural development of cities in both the developed and developing world, this important award promotes the shared interest of Bradford and UNESCO in the mission towards cultural diversity.

One crucial component to Bradford’s success is the city’s film festivals. These encompass the length of breadth of film making, with Bite the Mango, Bradford International Film Festival and Bradford Animation Festival showcasing shorts, feature-films, documentaries and animation from every corner of the globe.

Aesthetica was present at Bradford International Film Festival 2009, where we chatted with festival director Tony Earnshaw about his personal highlights of the festival and the importance of festivals to independent film. For a further overview of film festivals on a global scale, take a look at the Aesthetica ‘Film Festival’s at a Glance’ feature, which covers the best of contemporary and classic film from Munich to Cambodia

Bradford’s City of Film bid was chaired by Bradford-born Steve Abbot, producer of films such as “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Brassed Off”. If you want to emulate Abbot’s success, why not try your own hand at filmmaking? The current issue of Aesthetica has a step-by-step DIY guide penned by leading industry insiders Shooting People and Branchange Festival Programmer Philip Ilson. Here at Aesthetica, we are committed to supporting independent film making, and host a new short film every month on our homepage – courtesy of Shooting People.

If part one of our DIY Film Guide has sparked your creativity, our August-September issue is set to be essential reading. We’ll be bringing you the second part of our how to’ guide – with tips on how to promote, distribute and just get your film seen!

Image Top: Awayday

Middle: Steve Abbott producer and chair of the Bradford City of Film Board and Simon Beaufoy Oscar winning screenwriter