The 20th Bradford International Film Festival kicked off in style tonight, with a film that had won two prestigious awards earlier in the day.

Indian film The Lunchbox, which was screened in the Pictureville cinema at the National Media Museum, scooped Best Actor and Screenwriter at the Asian Film Awards in Macau.

It provided one half of an exciting opening night, as the museum showcased its film culture and an internationally-significant photography collection, with the launch of an exhibition called Only In England, featuring work by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr.

The media museum was bursting with guests, some there for the film, others there for the exhibition, as the event marked its landmark year.

Neil Young and Tom Vincent, co-directors of the film festival, were delighted that the festival had reached its 20th year.

“It is good to get here,” said Mr Young. “Many film festivals don’t make it to the 20th edition – most don’t get to ten. It’s because of the audiences that support the festival and come and see the films.”

Mr Vincent added: “The reputation grows as the festival continues. People know that Bradford exists and that it is a UNESCO City of Film.”

What can people in Bradford expect from the festival?

“They can expect all kinds of thrilling movies and they can expect to make friends,” said Mr Vincent. “Film festivals have this community of people around them that are just there for the festival and want to share their experiences.”

David Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, said: “It is testament to the festival that it has lasted 20 years – it seems to have grown bigger and better.

“I’m looking at a programme of 127 pages, and there is so much variation and quality in those pages. This is something to be really proud of.”

Steve Abbott, a Bradford-born producer known for hit films such as A Fish Called Wanda and Brassed Off, had a favourable comparison for the festival.

He said: “Bradford and Cannes are the two most important film festivals in the world.”

Mr Abbott, who is chairman of the board of directors at Bradford City of Film, added: “The festival is keeping us on the top. It fits in, alongside things like the animation festival, to keep the message there that Bradford is the place that deserves to be the first UNESCO City of Film.”