New website launched to connect UNESCO Cities of Film and enhance international collaboration

Eleanor PenderBradford, Bristol, Collaborative, Network

On Wednesday 15 July 2020, a new website launched to connect the 18 Cities of Film in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, in order to showcase the work taking place between the cities and enhance the international collaboration within the network.

Bristol City of Film has led the design and development of the multilingual Cities of Film website (, which contains profiles for each of the member cities, examples of key initiatives running in each location and news about collaborative successes and opportunities between member cities.

Natalie Moore, Bristol City of Film, said:

“We’re delighted to launch this new website on behalf of the entire Cities of Film network. For the first time we have a single shared platform that anyone can visit, wherever they are in the world, to learn more about how Cities of Film are leading development in film-based learning, engagement and innovation. As an online tool, the site will help us work more closely with one another, enhance how we share best practice and create new opportunities to collaborate creatively. Given the challenges we’re all facing in the current pandemic, it’s never been more important for us to stay as connected as possible digitally.”

Following the 2019 announcement of designations from UNESCO, there are currently 18 Cities of Film worldwide: Bitola (North Macedonia), Bradford (UK), Bristol (UK), Busan (South Korea), Galway (Ireland), Łódź (Poland), Mumbai (India), Potsdam (Germany), Qingdao (China), Rome (Italy), Santos (Brazil), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Sofia (Bulgaria), Sydney (Australia), Terrassa (Catalonia), Valladolid (Spain), Wellington (New Zealand) and Yamagata (Japan).

David Wilson, Bradford City of Film commented:

“Since we were named the first City of Film in 2009, the network has grown considerably with five new additions in 2019 alone. As Cities of Film, we are all committed to placing sustainable development at the heart of our cultural development, we’re also keen to collaborate together wherever possible. This platform will be a great help in achieving our goals.”

The website is being launched in the week that the 14th Annual Conference of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network was due to take place in the Santos City of Film, Brazil. The event, which is usually attended by representatives from all 246 UNESCO creative cities, has been postponed until later in the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Initiatives with the Cities of Film network

Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as their framework, UNESCO Creative Cities of Film are committed to delivering meaningful and progressive programmes of work that contribute to sustainable urban development.

Initiatives in progress within the Cities of Film network include:

Bristol & Bradford

The Film for Learning initiative in partnership with Into Film, Bradford’s Curriculum Innovation Service and Bristol’s boomsatsuma, is training teachers in Bristol primary schools to embed film into their teaching practices to engage with young people from an early age.


The Busan Package Project aims to preserve local films as film heritage for the city and to create opportunities for these films to be introduced on the international stage.


Northern Peripheries: Galway Stories Through A 2020 Lens’, bringing together young filmmakers from across Ireland and Europe to collaborate in an intensive camp to create a virtual production short film.


The National Centre for Film Culture will be an open centre for all who are interested in film, audiovisual culture and film education. Once completed it will be home to three interactive exhibitions, a 3-room cinema and ultramodern library with multimedia workshop enabling access to digital resources of Polish and world cinema.


The MIAC (Italian Audio-visual and Cinema Museum), the first multimedia, interactive and immersive museum entirely dedicated to the audio-visual genre in Italy’s capital.


Yamagata Renaissance Project, aiming to produce a series of films that rediscover the culture of Yamagata such as traditional crafts, tea ceremony and maiko through the eyes of young filmmakers.


Film Festivals around the world

UNESCO Creative Cities of Film are committed to placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of local engagement, and film festivals are a strong part of working towards this objective. Below offers a snapshot of film festivals hosted or coordinated by UNESCO Cities of Film:


The Small World Film Festival is Bradford’s short film festival inviting the world to contribute. With a 2020 theme of ‘A tourist in my hometown’, the festival is seeking short films (up to 12 mins max) from around the world and particularly welcome entries from all members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.


The 15th Rome Film Fest will be held on 15-25 October 2020, hosted at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, a venue the heart of the Rome Film Fest since 2006, and in other venues and locations in Rome. The event is organized by Fondazione Cinema per Roma with the support of the Founding Members and the Main Partner, BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas.


2020 celebrates the 49th International Student Film Festival Sehsüchte, Europe’s largest student film festival, traced back to 1972, and organized by students from the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF.


One shot’ is a revival of famous local film festival, “El Rotllo”. It is famous for one particular detail – all participating short films have to be shot in a sequence shot. Awards are given for Best sequence shot, Best screenplay and Best cinematography.


The Sarajevo Film Festival is a leading film festival in Southeast Europe, taking place over seven days in August. Over 200 films are screened, over 3,000 guests are accredited, and over 100,000 people attend festival events.


Valladolid International Film Festival, also known as Seminci or Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid, is an annual film festival in Valladolid. One of Europe’s oldest festivals, the festival is regarded as one of the most important specialising in independent and auteur film.