The Gateway to England's West Country, Bristol (pop. 454,200) is the United Kingdom's 10th largest city and an established centre for creative innovation. Home to motion picture pioneer William Friese-Greene, Hollywood icon Cary Grant, the world-leading BBC Natural History unit and Academy Award®-winning Aardman Animations, film plays a central role in Bristol's cultural and commercial identity. The sector significantly contributes to the local economy with independent companies providing US$197,8 million and visiting productions bringing US$258 million into the city in 2016 and 2017.
Bristol hosts 11 annual international film festivals, each providing a diverse and dynamic programme of events, drawing local, national and international audiences. Wildscreen, the world's leading wildlife film festival, takes place biennially, attracting visitors from across the globe to celebrate cutting-edge natural history filmmaking. Bristol is home to the BFI Film Hub South West and West Midlands, a network of 189 cinemas, festivals, arts organisations and exhibitors working to foster film inclusivity and skills development. The Watershed film culture and digital media centre links many of Bristol's festivals, networks and initiatives together; in 2016 and 2017, their programme engaged 25,000 young people and they welcomed 450,000 visitors through their doors.
Socio-economic benefits of creativity underpin Bristol's Cultural Strategy that raise the status of filmmakers and promote inclusivity. The longstanding BBC Bristol Partnership connects individual talent, SMEs and larger companies to grow and compete in international markets. The combined work of Bristol Film Office and The Bottle Yard Studios encourages production into the city, bringing employment and inward investment to the local film industry.
As a Creative City of Film, Bristol envisages:
- increasing diversity of local access and engagement with film culture, taking an in-depth approach to achieving diversity targets by addressing community-generated needs and delivery preferences. As lack of diversity is endemic within the wider industry, the challenge will be to embed it in Bristol's employment and development practices to create Bristol, City of Film for all;
- bridging the skills shortage in key areas identified by Creative Skillset and local industry by engaging with Bristol UNESCO Learning City and local schools to widen participation in skills development and transfer initiatives, as well as improving access to employment within the film and TV industry and maintain a notably skilled and diverse workforce; and
- developing a Film and Music cross-cutting initiative, broadening appreciation of the relationship between the two fields and collaborating across the UNESCO Creative Cities Network to celebrate Bristol's international relationship with film and music culture.