TWO films made in Bradford have been screened at a global conference for UNESCO Cities of Film.

The short films were shown along with others from around the world at the Creative Cities Film Forum: The Creative Industries - The Future of Cultural and Creative Economies/Covid-19 Challenges, which took place last week in Bitola, Macedonia.The forum was aimed at promoting creative industries and their sustainable development.

Bitola is the latest city to become a UNESCO City of Film. The second largest city in North Macedonia, its film industry is the backbone of its creative economy. Bitola's film history dates back to the Manaki brothers who, as film and photography pioneers, brought the Bioscope 300 film camera to the city in the early 20th century. They filmed the very first motion pictures shot in the Ottoman Balkans.

The two Bradford films screened in Bitola were created with support from Bradford City of Film, Bradford Council and Bradford 2025 under a scheme called MAKE film. Mushy Peas to Green Tea Kulfi, written by Michael Forrest and directed by Thea Burrows, focuses on the reflections of 60-year-old Clive Backhouse, and the emotional anchor of one building. In the absence of any support, offered or sought, following a tragedy he experienced as a young man in the 1980s, the building is his 'comfort blanket' woven with childhood memories. The film explores Clive's attempt to cope with the ongoing aftermath of the tragedy, and its impact on his mental wellbeing.

The second film is Ruth and Safiya, written and directed by Louisa Rose Mackleston, about an unlikely friendship between an isolated pensioner in her 80s who visits her allotment daily, and a teenage Syrian refugee struggling to adapt to llife in Bradford.

Bradford City of Film director David Wilson took part in an online panel discussion at the Creative Cities Film Forum. He said: "The forum is a great opportunity for UNESCO film cities to discuss what we are doing to support culture and creativity in our cities to help drive sustainable development. Film-makers are story-tellers first and foremost but also support the local creative economy in many ways. I'm delighted that two films made in Bradford recently were screened in Bitola. They're excellent films and a great showcase for the talent we have in Bradford. On the journey towards Bradford 2025 we hope to showcase more work from local film-makers at events across the world. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the film cities within that provide great opportunities for this."