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Bristol Begins its Venture as the Newest UNESCO City of Film

7 February 2018 | Freya Parr

Last week saw Bristol officially launched as a UNESCO city of film, as part of the organisations network of creative cities. The announcement cements Bristol as a growing hub for UK film.

Bristol is having a moment, finally recognised as the vibrant, dynamic city it has become. In November 2017 it was granted the UNESCO City of Film status, a title now in full effect following its launch last week. This new status recognises Bristol as a leading film centre, acknowledging the incredible creative spaces and projects in the city, and enabling a hugely diverse population to access film.
 
With 10 cinemas, several major film studios, and two major universities providing 28 film-related degrees across the city, there is a wealth of opportunity for film creators and lovers. Since 1976 Aardman Animations, the creators of cultural phenomenons such as Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and the new release Early Man, have been based in Bristol. They are joined by BBC Bristol, home to the Natural History Unit which produces wildlife content. The south of Bristol houses The Bottle Yard Studios, yet another major production facility. It has produced all four series of Poldark, as well as episodes of Broadchurch and Wolf Hall, and works closely with Boomsatsuma, an education programme which runs diplomas with practical hands-on experience, in which students leave with huge portfolios of work - invaluable in this difficult time for arts graduates.


Image Credit: UNESCO City of Film
 
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created in 2004, and is made up of 116 cities from 54 countries. The film category is one of its smallest, making Bristol one of the lucky few selected cities; there are only 13 others, with Bradford also featured on the list. It focuses on cultural diversity and sustainable urban development within creative cities, so really, there is no surprise Bristol has made the cut.
 
What does this new shiny status mean for Bristol? Although there is no funding involved, the title is a stamp of approval, and the programme will be sponsored by organisations who want to be a part of it. The status will broaden the city’s engagement with audiences through festivals and screen tourism, increase and widen participation within education through film, continue to break down racial and social boundaries to harness the power of Bristol’s multicultural population and reach new audiences. Bristol already has a myriad of established partnerships within the cultural industries but, with this new status, dozens more will develop to serve the community and access lesser-reached areas of the population.
 

Image Credit: UNESCO City of Film

You can read more about Bristol and UNESCO here.

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