Sydney becomes the second City of Film

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has recognised Sydney as an international ‘City of Film’.

“This prestigious international title will build upon our reputation as a world-class centre for film production, promotion and exhibition,” said NSW Minister for the Arts Virginia Judge.

According to a press release from the NSW Government, the City of Film status will “encourage new creative and economic partnerships, while recognising Sydney’s rich film history”.

The announcement was made by Judge and Sydney Mayor Clover Moore, with the presence of Gillian Armstrong, Jan Chapman, Barry Otto and Margaret Pomeranz. The bid was made in January with the support of the City of Sydney, the NSW Government and industry stakeholders.

Sydney is only the second city to receive this title. The other ‘City of Film’ is not Los Angeles, as most people would expect. It’s not London, Paris, Tokyo or Toronto either. It is Bradford, in the UK, defined by UNESCO as “home to some of the earliest pioneers of cinema and the celebrated location of many classic films […] The city now plays host to one of the most diverse film festival programmes in Europe; home of the hugely popular National Media Museum, a growing digital sector, and increasing opportunities for involvement in, and enjoyment of, film by local people”.

UNESCO’s selection criteria for potential applicants is:

  • Notable infrastructure related to filmmaking, i.e. film studios, cultural/movie landscapes, cinematographic memorabilia, etc;
  • historic links to the production, distribution and commercialization of films, especially within a native/local and culturally relevant context;
  • cinematographic legacy in the form of archives, museums, private collections and/or film schools;
  • tradition of hosting film festivals, screenings and cinematographic events;
  • birthplace, residence and/or workplace of creators and artists in the film industry;
  • depiction of the city in films, preferably realized by native creators and artists;
  • existing films about the city.

Sydney also joined the other 25 cities that form part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network – created to promote social, economic and cultural development. According to the release, there are more than 20 global cities waiting to join the Network. 

Encore has contacted Judge’s office, seeking comment on practical ways in which the title will benefit Sydney’s industry and audiences.


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