David Wilson, director of UNESCO Bradford City of Film, welcomes in the Bradford International Film Summit, and talks about the contribution that film and television production makes in the district.

Bradford city centre is abuzz with activity, Westfield’s Broadway development is targeted for opening Christmas 2015. Public realm works continues to improve the streets, pavements and public areas.

Businesses are expanding and new businesses are opening in the city, Westfields catalyst effect is driving investment into the city. Post development the city’s catchment spend potential will increase by 78per cent to £969 million. Footfall in the city is forecast to increase by 9 million to £32.5 million per annum.

The CCGZ includes the Tyrls police station site. One City Park office development, a 95,000 sqft of grade A office accommodation, is planned to create up to 1,000 jobs.

The Odeon Cinema, built in the 1930s, is just one of Bradford’s historic and iconic buildings. The council is working with a consortium to create a 4,000-plus high quality, live music, entertainment and leisure venue.

Much excitement has been voiced around Sunbridge Wells – an subterranean retail and leisure development is due to open in 2015 which will be accessed from Centenary Square, Upper Millergate and Ivegate.

Bradford College is undertaking a £100 million property refurbishment. First to open was the £50 million Hockney Building. Next will be £10 million advanced Technology Centre.

As Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film I am delighted that our City is welcoming the world of film to the Bradford International Film Summit. The summit will stage a series of seminars, events, discussions and screenings to discuss film and TV production and education, set against the backdrop of this film-loving city.

Bradford’s rich film heritage stretches back to the dawn of cinema and some of the early pioneers of early cinema technology are linked to the City. The film theme runs through to today. Bradford is proud to be the home of the National Museum for Film & Television – the National Media Museum - and the city and surrounding area is regularly used as a backdrop for film and TV productions, all of which have recently been brought together in a free web app, which is available at bradfordfilmheritage.com

Following the prestigious award of the United Nations Education Social and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) City of Film status in 2009, Bradford has used the transformational power of film to help drive social and economic change.

As a UNESCO City of Film, Bradford is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, which is now made up of 69 cities from right across the planet covering the seven themes of film, design, music, literature, gastronomy, craft & folk arts and media arts. As the network continues to grow, so does our ambition to ensure that Bradford continues to benefit from the designation and work collaboratively with cities from different countries.

During the Summit, we will celebrate what we have achieved so far as a City of Film - sharing this with other cities from around the world and also discussing ideas around what we do next.

Throughout the summit we will explore themes around diversity. We consider active ageing and how older people are represented in film and TV. We also explore opportunities for women within the film and TV sector, who are currently under represented in many roles within the industry.

We will debate and celebrate our use of film in education and how the Bradford Film Literacy Programme is seeing real results in helping to improve literacy in Bradford schools. The opportunities to study film and TV production and animation will be highlighted by Bradford College and the University of Bradford. There has never been a better time to be studying in this field and where better than the world’s first UNESCO City of Film?

The Business of Film will explain to businesses from across the district what they can do to support film and TV production. From hotels to catering, electricians to designers and make up & special effects. The supply chain to film production is extensive.

At the BFI and Screen Yorkshire Filmmakers and Production Day we will hear from and debate with top industry leaders about the state of the UK film industry and how to bring more production to the North.

Bradford and the wider Yorkshire region have witnessed a real production boom in the past two years and this has led to the re-launch of the Bradford Film Office www.bradfordfilmoffice.com where we pride ourselves on providing the best possible support to a range of professional productions from TV dramas to blockbuster feature films and everything in between. We also host regular surgeries for local filmmakers, giving advice on training, funding and what the next career move might be.

Watch out for some real gems and must see films throughout the summit including our opening night film X+Y at Picturehouse, National Media Museum, which won’t be on general release until April 2015. For something completely different try and catch the Hip Hop Hijabis – a documentary by Al Jazeera English about Two Muslim converts promoting women's rights through music and finding their own voices on the way.

We are delighted to have the Cinemobile all the way from Galway for the summit. The Cinemobile is 100 seat cinema in the back of a huge truck and will be situated in Centenary Square right outside City Hall throughout the Summit. Don’t miss the fabulous Jason Singh performing live to the John Grierson’s monumental 1929 silent film, Drifters.

CBBC Cinemaniacs will be bringing a fabulous workshop session to the Cinemobile for local school children and there will be a range of film screenings to suit most tastes.

We round off our fabulous summit programme with a night at the movies at the National Media Museum with Oscar nominated, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, the latest masterpiece from the legendary Studio Ghibli based on a tenth–century Japanese fable.

As part of the legacy of the Summit, we have been working closely with the Yorkshire Film Archive to produce a special summit version of ‘Memory Bank’ – a DVD and accompanying information on how to use archive film for reminiscence for older people who are often socially and culturally excluded. We will provide a pack and training on how to use this resource for every care home in the Bradford district over the coming months.

We are delighted to welcome international colleagues from the newly designated UNESCO film cities of Galway, Busan and Sofia and also extend a very warm Bradford welcome to representatives from the cities of Shenzhen (China), Jingdezhen (China) Yamagata (Japan), York and Dundee.

We will also host the UK’s leading figures in film and television with support from BAFTA, the British Film Institute (BFI), the British Film Commission (BFC), BBC, Al Jazeera English, Screen Yorkshire, Film4, Yorkshire Film Archive and many independent production companies and film and TV specialists.

In addition to the screenings, seminars and events we will also welcome members of UK Film Archives (UKFA) who will hold their annual meeting in Bradford on 5th March and Film Hub North who will also host their regional roadshow on the same day.

Running throughout the summit you will find highlights and updates on Summit TV on Big Screen Bradford and our new partnership with BBC Radio Leeds ‘My Bradford’ will also be making an appearance, encouraging anyone of any age, from any background to have a go at making short films using mobile technology.

If you have some time to spare in between the many and varied events and film screenings then why not pop into the City Library in Centenary Square and browse through the City of Film section which holds a great collection of books on film and filmmaking.

We really feel that the first Bradford International Film Summit has something for everyone and we look forward to throwing the biggest three day film party the city has ever seen. We’d love you to be part of it.

David Wilson

Director – Bradford UNESCO City of Film