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01/11/2017

Bristol Named UNESCO City Of Film

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Bristol has been named a UNESCO City of Film ensuring that the city now joins the likes of Bradford, Galway, Rome and Sydney as a City of Film.

The announcement by the Director-General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) confirmed that Bristol has succeeded in its bid. The city will be joined by Manchester as it takes its place as part of the Creative Cities Network as it has been named a UNESCO City of Literature.

Commenting on Wednesday's announcement, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, John Glen MP, said: "This is fantastic news for both Bristol and Manchester and recognition of their global significance to film and literature. This UNESCO designation will enhance their reputation around the world and help forge strong partnerships with other nations."

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, added: "This is fantastic news and a ringing endorsement of Bristol's position as a world leader in film production, education and training. Our reputation as a diverse and creative city has long helped to attract productions and talent across film, TV drama, animation and of course natural history. I hope this recognition will be a catalyst for bigger opportunities for the city and Bristolians to showcase Bristol as a centre for film.

"Bristol's cultural sector is a diverse industry that plays an important role in breaking down the barriers inequality creates. Our ambition is that the education, training and employment opportunities developed by the sector will benefit all communities across Bristol and being named as an UNESCO City of Film is a step towards meeting this goal."

Fiona Francombe, Site Director of The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol, commented: "This is a great result, we warmly welcome the recognition that UNESCO City of Film status will bring to Bristol, a city with film and TV production at its core. In recent years The Bottle Yard Studios has attracted new attention from producers at home and abroad, providing fresh opportunities for the local industry, but it's also important to note that the longevity of Bristol's filming heritage is testament to its outstanding specialist workforce. The art directors, set builders, camera operators, supporting artistes, make-up artists, costume designers, visual effects and post production specialists – talented experts that help this sector stand out as an essential cornerstone in Bristol's cultural and economic success. This new status will raise Bristol's profile on the international stage even further. It will bolster our reputation as a city that offers the full package of support and really understands the language of filmmaking."

Created in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a network of creative cities working together towards a common mission for cultural diversity and sustainable urban development. The Creative Cities Network is currently formed by 116 Members from 54 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts.

The UNESCO City of Film bid process began in 2016. Bristol’s application was put together under the guidance of a management group comprising Bristol City Council, Bristol Film Office, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), University of Bristol, Screenology, Destination Bristol and The Bottle Yard Studios.

The bid included the input from the city's film and TV sector, from production, education, screen heritage and exhibition, including Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre, Calling The Shots, Aardman Animations, BBC Bristol, Encounters Festival, and Bristol Festivals.

Image: Location still from Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. COurtesy of Bristol Film Office.
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