BRADFORD has a long film heritage that goes back beyond 1897, when images from Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London were beamed onto giant screens in Forster Square that same day.

Today, as the world's first UNESCO City of Film, Bradford is a magnet for film-making, with a long list of productions shot here in recent years.

This week the city is showcasing its cinematic prowess to the world, at the Bradford International Film Summit. Visitors from countries such as China, Bulgaria and South Korea, including leading film and TV industry figures and representatives from the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, have arrived to find out about the benefits of film-making here and to discuss innovative ways of expanding the role of film in society for cultural and economic benefit.

The summit will highlight the Bradford Film Literacy Programme, with talks from the University of Bradford and Bradford College's International Film School, promote growing opportunities for businesses to capitalise on film production, and celebrate the best of films made in Yorkshire.


Anyone walking through Centenary Square lately will have noticed a large articulated truck parked up, with the word "Cinemobile" emblazoned on the side. Inside is a 100-seater cinema, where a variety of screenings and events are open to the public, including the classic 1959 adaptation of John Braine's novel Room at the Top, largely shot in Bradford; Bollywood Carmen, filmed in Centenary Square and broadcast live on BBC3 in 2013; and and a performance by Jason Singh and the Drifters blending vocals, beatboxing and live sampling. A series of Irish short films will be shown between main features, and for younger film-goers there's Sing-along-a-Frozen, The Gruffalo and a children's workshop.

Cinemobile has travelled to Bradford from Galway in Ireland, recently designated a UNESCO City of Film. The mobile cinema will also be screening archive footage of Bradford events as part of a project called Memory Bank: Bradford, a collaboration between Bradford City of Film and the Yorkshire Film Archive.

In conjunction with healthcare professionals, carers and families, the Yorkshire Film Archive has produced a special edition DVD reminiscence pack, distributed to 250 care homes and support services across the district, funded by a grant from Bradford Council Adult and Community Services.

Memory Bank uses archive footage of familiar faces, places, events and everyday lives to help people re-discover and connect with collective shared memories. The aim is to reach out to people across the region, particularly older people who can share in enjoying Bradford's film heritage and recall their own memories.

Footage screened at Cinemobile includes Bradford's last trolleybus in 1972, two Rugby League matches at Odsal in the 1930s, the 1955 Speedway Championship, shoppers at Kirkgate market in 1951, and refuse collection in 1946.

And, on the eve of Bradford City's attempt, for the second time in the club's history, to get through to an FA Cup semi-final, City fans can today watch footage of the team from the 1940s at Valley Parade, screened at Cinemobile between 1pm and 4pm.

David Wilson, Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, said: “We are delighted that our partnership with the Yorkshire Film Archive and Bradford Council Adult and Community Services has resulted in the production of Memory Bank: Bradford - a first for older people right across our district. We will be distributing the DVD packs, free of charge, to care providers and we are already in discussions about providing reminiscence training so that everyone benefits from these fantastic films. It’s a great legacy; a lasting resource to be seen, shared and enjoyed by older people across Bradford for years to come.”

Sue Howard, Yorkshire Film Archive director, added: “It's a special limited edition pack designed to spark memories for all who know and love the city. We’ve also added film notes and suggested topics to help prompt memories, which are ideal for use in reminiscence sessions.”

Today's screenings include Hip Hop Hijabis, about two young muslim women who form a hip hop duo and hit the road. Other events today include a seminar looking at how local businesses can benefit from opportunities presented by film and TV production, from catering to transport.

Tomorrow sees the Future Film-makers Forum; a round-table panel of film-makers from Bradford aimed at budding directors, film and media students and industry professionals, an International Women's day lecture on diversity in film and television headed by BAFTA chairman Anne Morrison, and a seminar focusing on children's film and TV, with guests such as Jackie Myburgh, chief operating officer, BBC Children's.

The Summit has also launched a Made in Yorkshire series of screenings and events, taking place throughout March. From classics such as The Railway Children to blockbusters like Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, the list of great films made in Yorkshire goes on and on.

Bradford's City of Film team, which has organised the Summit, is encouraging schools, film societies, community groups and cinemas to dedicate an evening of film to Yorkshire's film heritage. Keighley Film Club gets the project underway with a screening of Hockney, about David Hockney's early life in Bradford, at Keighley Picturehouse on March 15.

* For more about Bradford International Film Summit and to register for events, visit