In 2009 Bradford was designated as a UNESCO City of Film in recognition of the city’s rich film heritage, its inspirational movie locations and its many celebrations of the moving image through the city’s annual film festivals.
Bradford has a long history associated with film and filmmaking dating back to the birth of cinema and has long been acknowledged by the film industry as a film-friendly city. Bradford is a key location for film and television production and boasts a number of key film festivals including the Bradford International Film Festival, the Bradford Animation Festival and is also home to the National Media Museum.
Bradford offers learning opportunities for students of all ages. Primary school children benefit from a unique film literacy programme; secondary school pupils have the opportunity to study the ways in which films create meaning as part of the English National Curriculum; and three colleges and the University of Bradford provide over 45 related introductory, post-graduate and PhD courses. Opportunities for professional development in the film sector are also present.
The sheer volume and quality of work in Bradford’s film sector explain why so many film industry professionals choose to base themselves here. Thanks to the resources, facilities, support and passion for this creative field, Bradford is home to both amateurs and professionals alike.


Support for Bradford City of Film and Bradford’s role in the film industry has come from many quarters.

Sir Patrick Stewart

“As someone born and bred in West Yorkshire, I am proud that my native county is home to the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. These are exciting times. Giving Bradford a buzz about film will open up enormous opportunities for the district and its people, as well as for the film industry. Whatever you want – to enjoy film, learn about it, make it or simply come and visit – Bradford is the place, both now and for the future.”

Michael Palin CBE

“The Cow and Calf Rocks were a favourite Python film location, the moors south of Bradford feature heavily in Ripping Yarns, and I pedalled my bicycle in and around Ilkley for Alan Bennett’s ‘A Private Function’. And not just because I’m a Yorkshireman. These are dramatically effective locations and the finest range of scenery in the country”.

Kay Mellor OBE
Scriptwriter and Director

“It’s absolutely fantastic that Bradford has been made the first City of Film and where better, as it is home to the National Media Museum, a place where my family and I have enjoyed many hours of delight from Fantasia at the Imax to an obscure Japanese film in the Cubby Broccoli cinema.  But Bradford is in itself a city that is an inspiration for filmmakers. Even though I am from Leeds, I can stand on the brow of a hill in Bradford and look at the vistas with awe. Turn a corner, walk down a cobbled street and you are transported to a different time and place.

Bradford is steeped in Yorkshire tradition. It has a richness of architecture and a variety ethnicity which makes it famous nationally and internationally. I hope it goes from strength to strength and without a doubt will become the Cannes of England.”

Matthew Lewis

“Over the last few years I’ve been incredibly proud to be part of a number of activities in Bradford, particularly ones supporting local people from Bradford itself and the West Yorkshire area. Last October I helped to launch this year’s ‘b someone’ campaign, which amongst other things is hoping to highlight the potential of having a successful career in the film industry. A lot of people may want to be actors, but there is so much more to the industry than acting. There are literally hundreds of jobs that are vital when making movies and people may want to work in one of the many various departments such as Stunts, Art Department, Hair and Make Up, Costume, Catering, Set Design, Photography and Editing, to name but a few.

My roots are firmly in West Yorkshire and my love of the film industry meant that I was very proud to see Bradford achieve the status of “City of Film”. Hopefully, in the future, growing up in the world’s first “City of Film” will mean that many more talented people are able to pursue a career in film which can only mean a long and very bright future for the British Film Industry.

I wish the people of Bradford all the very best in this campaign.”

Jeremy Dyson

“It’s been a lifelong dream that the movies have a real and meaningful home in the North of England – not just in terms of exhibition and celebration but in the nuts and bolts of creation and production.  Bradford’s international City of Film status is a brilliant opportunity to kick-start the process whereby this dream could become a significant reality.”

Tony Reeves
Chief Executive, Bradford Council

“Bradford City of Film is an ambitious project using the popularity and accessibility of film to everybody, whatever their age and background, as a means of creating a unique sense of place for Bradford and addressing a wide range of issues, including education and skills, cultural and economic participation and civic pride.”


Jane Soans
Location Manager

“I first visited the Worth Valley Railway in 1976 when we were filming RAFFLES – starring Anthony Valentine as the Gentleman Thief. I was a baby TV technician and I loved the railway, loved sitting in the observation carriage travelling through the wonderful scenery and visiting Oakworth Station for the first time and learning that it was the location for The Railway Children with Jenny Aggutter.

When I was working on SONS AND LOVERS in 2003, we had to find a station for various arrivals and departures. We were filming all over the North of the UK – Isle of Man; Nottinghamshire; Derbyshire; County Durham, and somehow we had to slot in the Steam Railway sequence. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway was the first place I thought of.

The ease of filming with the team at the K & WVR is fantastic – they have a choice of rolling stock and engines for many periods, the working time-table tends to allow time for a shooting schedule to include exclusive use of the railway for 2 or 3 days at a time, and the staff are really film friendly and incredibly welcoming.

Oakworth Station is just a gem. The buildings are preserved in period detail, the lighting runs on gas which provides a delightful atmosphere, and the smell of the coal fires in the waiting room and ticket office is charming – even if you can’t smell it on the screen, yet!

After a wonderful experience with BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS, when it came to looking for the station for BRIDESHEAD REVISITED my enthusiasm to return to Worth Valley was reinforced by the fact that the other railways in Yorkshire ran a daily service – so that our filming hours would have been severely disrupted – and the rolling stock and Oakworth Station, once again, provide a perfect period setting with very little for the Art Department to do. Once again the welcome and the service we received from the staff and volunteers of the Railway were first class.
Given a choice, I would always direct people to the Worth Valley Railway, when steam trains are needed.”


James Marsh
BAFTA award winning director

“I am very pleased to support Bradford’s UNESCO designation as City of Film. It has a rich infrastructure for both filmmakers and film lovers. It has excellent cinemas, a national museum and some great festivals.

I filmed a major production – Red Riding 1980 – in Bradford in the Autumn of 2008. We shot on location all over the city and in the surrounding countryside. We had amazing local support and hired a lot of our crew locally. Visually, the city has much to offer and we had no problem finding exterior and interior locations to serve our story. Unlike say London or New York, it was easy and simple to get permission to shoot all over the city. I’d love to come back and shoot another film in the area.

I wish the City continued success as UNESCO’s official City of Film.”

Sally Joynson
Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire

“To become the first ever UNESCO City of Film is a stunning achievement for Bradford and all those involved. This announcement further cements the region as being central to film and TV production in the UK. Screen Yorkshire was a partner in the bid and will continue to work closely with all those involved in City of Film to ensure Bradford continues to attract production to the City, bringing inward investment, jobs and profile.”

Amanda Nevill,
Director of the British Film Institute

“Film is society’s chosen medium in the 21st century. In this wonderfully diverse society, it provides an engaging and compelling bridge between ages, cultures and societies. How wonderful Britain has a designated City of Film and how apt that it is Bradford. Congratulations from us all at the BFI!”