A BRONZE miniature of Bradford’s City Hall clock tower took centre stage at a glittering ceremony held in France recently.
The event, at Enghien les Bains, was a film festival organised by UNESCO Creative Cities. A network of delegates from the Creative Cites network - which includes Bradford, the world’s first UNESCO City of Film - attended the event, themed ‘My City’. More than 50 film-makers from Creative Cities worldwide submitted short films and Bradford played a selection of them throughout June on the Big Screen in Centenary Square, as part of the city’s Small World Film Festival.
A People’s Panel in Bradford judged three categories - Documentary Short, Animated Short and Make Us Laugh, as well as a special showcase of films from Sydney City of Film exploring everyday life with a disability. The selected films were then screened at the Creative Cities Annual Meeting in France. The overall winner was an Afghanistan film documenting life in the ancient city of Bamiyan. Director of Bradford City of Film, David Wilson, presented the director with a specially designed award in the shape of Bradford's landmark clock tower, recognising film excellence.
The submitted films are being screened at a festival in Santos, Brazil, this month. Santos was designated a UNESCO City of Film in 2015 and has forged a strong partnership with Bradford.
Bradford’s City of Film team is now planning for next year’s Small World Film Festival and will announce the theme and application process in coming weeks.
“The Small World Film Festival brought together moving, heartwarming and humorous stories from across the globe,” said Mr Wilson. “This is the second year of the festival and we were deluged with wonderful entries."
The UNESCO Creative Cities Annual Meeting in Enghien les Bains gave Bradford’s City of Film team chance to showcase its success in boosting film production in the district.
Every four years, designated cities submit a monitoring report for UNESCO demonstrating that they are each fulfilling their obligations as a Creative City.  “I am pleased to say that the report submitted by Bradford has now been reviewed by the UNESCO secretariat, and peer reviewed by a number of other UNESCO Creative Cities, and we have received an excellent score rating - the highest rating,” said Mr Wilson. “This was announced at the annual meeting and was greeted with cheers and applause from representatives of other member cities.”
Bradford's film festivals and educational work received particularly praise, and the work of its film office with communities as well as businesses.
"We have fulfilled our criteria as a Creative City and are seen as a frontrunner in this network," said Mr Wilson. "Working together and sharing good practice with other Creative Cities is very powerful and transformative."
Established by UNESCO in 2004, the Creative cities Network consists of 116 cities from 54 countries. The aim is for the cities to use their UNESCO cultural designations - from gastronomy, music and literature to craft, design and film - to foster social and economic good and to raise the profile of their cultures and communities. The network also offers participating cities a platform to share experiences and form partnerships.
Bradford became the world’s first UNESCO City of Film in 2009, and Sydney, Australia, Galway, Ireland, Sofia, Bulgaria and now Santo, Brazil, have since also been designated the title.
Other creative sectors are represented in Iowa City in America and Melbourne, Australia, joining Edinburgh as Cities of Literature, and Bologna, Italy, Ghent, Belgium, and Seville, Spain, which have City of Music status along with Glasgow.
On October 31 the next cities to have UNESCO designations will be announced, and the next City of Film is likely to be Quingdao in China. Mr Wilson, who attended a summit there, said: "China is emerging as a major player in the film industry, especially with the development of the Wanda Group film studio, and following the UK and Chinese governments' signing of the co-production treaty there are lots of exciting opportunities for Bradford to work with this city."  
Bradford City of Film projects include a film literacy programme, aimed at boosting literacy levels in schools through film; Memory Bank Bradford, a DVD reminiscence pack developed with the Yorkshire Film Archive and Bradford Council’s Adult and Community Services, available to care homes and support services in the district; an Institute of Film and Visual Literacy; Bradford Film Heritage; new and emerging film festivals, including Neighbourhood and Golden Years; and creative exchanges with other Creative Cities.
Areas of focus include developing Bradford's new range of film festivals; campaigning for more diversity within screen industries; developing and expanding opportunities to showcase work of film-makers on Bradford Big Screen; collaborating further through the UCCN; developing training opportunities in film and TV; developing film-making facilities and studio space in the district; continuing to support new talent and further developing showcase opportunities; and encouraging more film related businesses to settle in Bradford.