Bradford Family Film Fiesta brings Moana, The Lion King an The Railway Children to UNESCO creative city

Bradford is steeped in cinema history and this month will host a family-friendly festival of film. Grace Hammond finds out what treats are in store for viewers.

Its influence on the history of cinema is such that it was the first UNESCO City of Film.

Now Bradford Family Film Fiesta is a month-long celebration of movies across the district.

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Throughout August, the event will host a diverse range of films in some “equally diverse” settings, as part of the city’s Summer Unlocked events programme.

David Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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From blockbuster films such as Moana and The Lion King to the thought-provoking Song of the Sea, the festival also has the awarding-winning Arabic language film Wadjda and the Urdu language animation Burka Avenger, topped with screenings of Super Power Dogs in Imax 3D.

David Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film said: “I am delighted that we are able to bring such a brilliant range of films to screens across the Bradford district throughout August.

“The team at Bradford City of Film have worked with a range of partners and volunteers to curate a programme which we hope will empower and inspire young minds but will also be really fun and exciting.

David Wilson in Bradford City Hall, which doubled as the Old Bailey in the film Official Secrets. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“We have strived to ensure that all the screenings are free or subsidised in keeping with part of our mission as a UNESCO creative city to ensure that everyone, whatever their financial situation, can access cultural offerings like this dynamic range of film titles.”

Alongside classics such as The Railway Children – parts of which were filmed at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and its station at Oakworth – the selection of films includes Wadjda, the first feature by a woman Saudi Arabian director, Haifaa al-Mansour.

The film was selected as Saudi Arabia’s official nomination for the Oscars in 2014 and charts the fortunes of a 10-year-old girl who enters a Quran reading competition in order to raise money to buy a bicycle.

There will be a special screening of School of Rock in the Night Train club, which is usually used to hosting heavy metal and rock bands.

The Oastler Shopping Centre’s pop-up cinema will screen a series of award-winning animations in Urdu following the female super hero Burka Avenger by special permission from the creators of the show, which is developed in Pakistan.

The Bradford Big Screen in City Park will screen Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet and the Irish animation Song of the Sea.

Every Thursday in August families will be able to take advantage of half price entry to see Super Power Dogs in Imax 3D at the National Science and Media Museum.

In 2019, Bradford marked its 10th anniversary as the world’s first UNESCO City of Film.

Bradford has a long history associated with film, dating back to the birth of cinema, and has become key location for film and TV production.

Jack Clayton’s film Room At The Top (1959) was filmed around Bradford and more recently scenes in The King’s Speech (2010) and Official Secrets (2019) were made in the city – Odsal stadium doubled for Wembley and City Hall as the Old Bailey respectively.

Mr Wilson represents the city on an international level as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Using the title, he and his team work to bring a positive social and economic impact to Bradford and the UK. He is an international ambassador for the city, regularly speaking at film, business and community events about Bradford’s film heritage and the city’s approach as a creative city, in addition to writing about film and presenting review shows on television and radio.

For more information about Bradford Family Film Festival and timings, visit www.bradford-city-of-film.com/enjoy/family.