Bradford City of Film director David Wilson looks at the value of film festivals worldwide and in Bradford

FILM festivals? Why bother?

The city of Toronto has over 75 film festivals per year! Every genre of film, and almost every community is celebrated by film and /or through film. This is a city that is serious about film and more importantly, understands the power of film to help foster better understanding, tolerance and ultimately empower the city’s diverse communities.

By far the most popular and high profile festival, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place every September. TIFF brings a buzz to the city as well as nearly 300 films. It's the last stop on the festival calendar for many filmmakers, which makes TIFF the first stop for Oscar predictions.

There is something for everyone over a 12-month period. From the Lesbian & Gay Film Festival to the Jewish Film Festival, the Cinefranco is all about French language cinema, as the name would suggest. Then there’s the Reel Asian Film Festival; coming up to it's 17th year, it is Canada's largest Asian film festival and its programming is as diverse as the continent which it covers. Hot Docs is North America's largest documentary festival, and has been providing Torontonians with some of the best documentaries from around the world for 20 years, and Toronto After Dark is the city’s pre-eminent cult, sci-fi, and horror film festival.

If done right, a good film festival should be a true celebration of creativity – it should inspire the people of that city and help to profile the cultures and communities, bringing people together to experience things that they might not otherwise experience. It should reward talent and encourage more people to explore the world and other people’s lives. It should educate and entertain.

Since its inception in 1995, the Bradford International Film Festival (BIFF) developed a formidable reputation by offering a rich, varied programme, from premières, shorts and retrospectives, to competitions, masterclasses and family activities. Expanding beyond its base at the National Media Museum into satellite venues across the district, BIFF's eclectic programme featured the best in film from Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, North America and Africa. The museums decision not to host the an international film festival in this way in the future should not mean the end of film festivals in Bradford.

Bradford is the world’s first UNESCO City of Film for good reason. Some of the early pioneers of cinema and cinema technology came from Bradford it has been used as a backdrop for hundreds of film and TV productions for the past 100 years. We are part of a growing international network of creative cities who use culture and creativity to promote sustainable development. Celebrating our lives on and through film is a very natural thing to do and if anything, I believe we need to do more of this not less.

We do have film festivals in the district and it is the ambition of Bradford UNESCO City of Film to build on these.

Ilkley Film Festival has just completed a successful third year and continues develop a comprehensive schedule

• The Drunken Film Festival is a new festival developed by some of the independent bars in the city centre to screen independent films in some great locations and venues in July

• The Bradford Family Film Festival will run throughout August with free events including blockbuster movies every Wednesday on Bradford Big Screen in City Park. Accompanying screenings will take place at Cliffe Castle and Bradford Industrial Museum, Bradford Playhouse and the Mechanics Institute at Eccleshill. There will also be supporting film related events at Bradford City Library.

• Wide Screen Weekend - the National Media Museum will continue to build on the success of Wide Screen Weekend and Small World's Film Festival, now in its second year.

We want to encourage more people to get involved in helping to organise and support these events and we want to encourage more volunteers and communities in Bradford to engage with developing ideas on how we celebrate as a city through and with film.