Bristol, United Kingdom, became a UNESCO City of Film in 2017.

What does this mean for Bristol?

Being a part of the network means that Bristol can:

  • build on Bristol's well-established moving image industry, to further embed the ethos of UNESCO into how people watch, make and learn about film in the city.
  • build on the central role film has within Bristol’s identity, expanding film education programmes and aiding literacy development through film.
  • develop and strengthen our international reach, working with Cities of Film around the world to celebrate and share the film talent Bristol has to offer.
  • work with Bristol's dynamic and multicultural communities to discover and harness new talent, and connect education programmes with industry establishments across the city.
    The gateway to England's West Country, Bristol is the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom and an established centre for cultural and creative innovation. Film and the moving image has long played a central role in the city’s identity. Bristol is the birthplace of Hollywood icon Cary Grant (1904-1986) and home to BBC Bristol studios which has been producing internationally renowned radio, drama and wildlife television since 1934.


    What makes Bristol a City of Film?

    BBC Bristol

    A Pioneering City

    Discovering and developing new tools and talents can be traced from Bristol’s film history. Bristol is the birthplace of motion picture pioneer William Friese-Greene, and Hollywood actor, Cary Grant. The city is home to the world renowned BBC Natural History Unit and has become known to those in the word to industry as  ‘Green Hollywood’, the largest concentration of films producing wildlife content in the world. In 2019 Channel 4 opened its new  creative hub in Bristol, providing a further boost to the city’s thriving TV sector and diverse talent.

    Bristol - festival city

    A Festival City

    Bristol hosts 11 international film festivals, each providing a diverse and dynamic programme of events and drawing local, national and international audiences. Encounters is the UK’s leading short film festival, whilst Wildscreen is the world’s biggest wildlife film festival. Cinema Rediscovered brings digital restorations and contemporary classics back to the big screen, whilst the Cary Comes Home Festival celebrates the life and Bristol roots of Archibald Leach and Slapstick Festival showcases the best in silent film.

    Bristol harbourside

    City-wide Engagement

    Set in Bristol’s harbourside, the Watershed film culture and digital media centre links many of Bristol’s festivals, networks and initiatives together. In 2016 and 2017, they welcomed 450,000 visitors through their doors and their programmes engaged 25,000 young people. The BFI Film Audience Network Hub links together 189 cinemas, festivals, arts organisations and exhibitors in the South West of England region.

    Film Culture

    Cinema Rediscovered outdoor film screening in Bristol (© Jack Offord)

    When it comes to appreciating film and the moving image, Bristol already boasts an impressive selection of venues, festivals and special events . Bristol City of Film is working to further increase access to a diverse range of viewing experiences across the city, creating more opportunities for audiences to watch films in a broad range of different settings, from outdoor screenings to free film festival events. Bristol City of Film also supports a number of screen heritage and archive initiatives that are documenting the city’s film history to ensure its preservation for the future

    Film Production

    One of the most memorable days [of the shoot] was when we recreated Cobh Harbor in Ireland. We couldn’t actually go to Cobh Harbor, so we cheated it in Bristol Harbour, which was fantastic. The Balmoral was a gem of a find. Its conserved beauty was the perfect setting for a crucial moment in the film and we couldn’t have done it without the wonderful support of Bristol.

    Faye Ward, Producer, Stan & Ollie
    Steve Coogan and John C Reilly filming in Bristol for the film Stan & Ollie. (© EOne)

    Film Education

    Partners across the city are working together to deliver activities in film education.

    BFI Film Academy Bristol participants, 2018

    Bristol City of Film is working with partners to encourage new models of learning through film in Bristol’s schools and enable access to all levels of film education. New initiatives include a new Film for Learning programme being rolled out in Bristol primary schools, whilst further education Diploma courses for 16-19 year olds are being delivered at the city’s Bottle Yard Studios. Work is also underway to support cross-cultural connections in Bristol and internationally, with cultural exchanges taking place, such as UWE Film students’ visit to Il Cinema Ritrovato 2019 in Bologna, a fellow UCCN member and UNESCO City of Music.

    Latest News

    Recent Filming

    The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
    Stan & Ollie
    The Spanish Princess
    Love to the Death

    Want to find out more about Bristol?

    Discover more about Bristol's work with fellow Cities of Film and Creative Cities on the International Collaboration pages.

    Visit the Bristol City of Film website for the latest on Creative City activity in Bristol.