Five new Cities of Film join the Creative Cities Network

Eleanor PenderNetwork

On World Cities Day, 31 October 2019, UNESCO announced 66 new designations across the Creative Cities Network. All 66 Cities can be found on the UCCN website.

Among the 66 receiving a new designation were five new Cities of Film, Mumbai (India), Potsdam (Germany), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Valladolid (Spain) and Wellington (New Zealand).

Mumbai, India

Mumbai is the birthplace of Indian cinema. Mumbai is where Dadasaheb Phalke, Indian producer-director-screenwriter, considered to be the father of Indian cinema, laid the groundwork for silent movies, and where the first Indian film commercial screening took place in 1913. Mumbai hosts the Hindi film industry, commonly referred to as Bollywood, which is the largest component of the much-larger Indian film industry. Currently, at 45% of the Indian Film market, Bollywood films exist in over 15 languages and are spread across India. Mumbai is the capital of the state of Maharashtra and host to the Marathi film industry. Mumbai is home to a large number of cinema halls that thrive in the city, screening films from all over the world alongside Hindi and Marathi productions. Mumbai hosts several film festivals including The Mumbai International Film Festival and several film clubs that organise special screenings of world cinema.

Potsdam, Germany

Potsdam is the first German city to be named a UNESCO City of Film. Located right outside Berlin, Potsdam is home to Babelsberg Studios, the oldest large-scale film studio in the world, which has produced films since 1912. Many national and international actors and directors have worked in Potsdam and at Babelsberg Studios. “Der Blaue Engel” (The Blue Angel) with Marlene Dietrich was shot there, as was Fritz Lang´s “Metropolis”. The city hosts a number of film festivals and events, including The International Film Festival Sehsüchte, now Europe`s largest student film festival, the Moving History Festival, specialising in historical films, the Jewish Film Festival Berlin-Brandenburg, and the Festival of Environmental and Nature Films.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo is the first Creative City in Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the UNESCO Creative City Network. The city is home to The National Film Archive of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Film Center Sarajevo, working together to protect and preserve film materials of historical, artistic, cultural, educational and scientific significance, and build a strong record of Bosnian film heritage. The city has inspired many notable Bosnian filmmakers including Danis Tanović, known for his Academy-Award and Golden Globe-winning film, ‘No Man’s Land’, Jasmila Žbanić, and more. The Sarajevo Film Academy, founded by the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology in 2010, is the first private film school in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the only filmmaking school in South-Eastern Europe with a full curriculum taught in English. Sarajevo is home to The Sarajevo Film Festival, founded in 1995, which has become the biggest film festival in southeast Europe.

Valladolid, Spain

Historic capital of Spain, Valladolid has a centuries-old cultural heritage that is the bedrock of the modern-day city. Home to one of the oldest film festivals in Europe, the Valladolid International Film Festival, also known as SEMINCI, the festival screens some 100 long and short films from different countries each year. One of the oldest universities in the world, Universidad de Valladolid, can be found here, with sites dating back to the 1400s. The Valladolid Film Office coordinates filming in a city famous for welcoming Orson Welles to film ‘Mr Arkadin’ in 1954, an experience shared by Spanish novelist and journalist, Miguel Delibes in 1985. Valladolid hosts a variety of accessible cultural events, including public open-air screenings, the Rodinia Short Film Festival and the International Exhibition of Cinema and Sexual Diversity.

Wellington, New Zealand

Capital of New Zealand, Wellington, Aotearoa, is home to world-class production and special effects facilities, as well as many talented filmmakers. The city, known affectionately as “Wellywood”, has produced global blockbusters including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, The Avengers, Ghost in the Shell and Oscar-winning Avatar. Alongside these international behemoths, local and independent filmmakers utilise the regions unique locations and wealth of creative talent to tell powerful local stories that often punch above their weight on the world stage.  Wellington was the birth place of the New Zealand International film festival and north of the city in Ōtaki, the annual Māoriland Festival shines a light on Māori and indigenous cinema from around the world.  The city is home to the New Zealand Film Commission and Ngā Taonga, the National Film Archive, and offers aspiring filmmakers a range of courses at Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington and Te Auaha Institute of Creativity; while budding actors hone their craft at Toi Whaakari, the National Drama School

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network celebrates a total of 246 cities rewarded for their hard work in Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Literature, Music, Gastronomy, Media Arts or Film, and making culture a pillar of their communities.

Visit the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for more information on the Network and how to apply to be a Creative City.