The 3rd Third UNESCO Creative Cities Film Forum: The Creative Industries – The Future of Cultural and Creative Economies / Covid-19 Challenges, will take place on 28th and 29th October 2021 in Bitola, Macedonia. Organized by Film Center Bitola, the forum aims to promote creative industries and their sustainable development by creating new policies, improving national capacities and organizing promotional events in this field.
Bitola joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a UNESCO City of Film in 2015. Located in the south of the Republic of North Macedonia, Bitola is the second largest city in the country with around 122,000 inhabitants. The city’s film heritage originated from the early 20th century with the film industry now representing the backbone of the city’s creative economy. Bitola’s history with film dates back to the Manaki brothers who, as film and photography pioneers, brought to Bitola – formerly named Manastir – the Bioscope 300 film camera. The brothers famously filmed the very first motion pictures shot in the Ottoman Balkans.
As part of the forum a series of films from around the world will be screened including two short films recently made in Bradford.
The two films from Bradford which will be screened in Bitola on 29 October 2021 were created with support from Bradford UNESCO City of Film, Bradford Council and Bradford 2025 under a scheme called MAKE film.
Mushy Peas to Green Tea Kulfi was written by Michael Forrest and directed by Thea Burrows and focuses on the reflections of Clive Backhouse, a 60 year old true working class Northerner using the emotional anchor of one building. A building, an area that has proved to be a comfort blanket woven with his childhood memories. In the absence of any support, offered or sought, following a 1980’s tragedy this is his self medication. His reset, his attempt to cope with the ongoing aftermath of the tragedy experienced at the age of 27. One that will impact on his mental wellbeing and relationships for the remainder of his life.
The second film is by Louisa Rose Mackleston who wrote and directed Ruth and Safaya The story follows an unlikely friendship between Ruth – an isolated pensioner in her 80s that visits her allotment daily, and Safiya – a teenage Syrian refugee that is struggling to adapt to her new life in Bradford.
David Wilson, Director of Bradford City of Film will also be speaking in a panel discussion at the event via a Zoom link from Bradford and he said; The Film Cities Forum is a great opportunity for UNESCO film cities to discuss what we are doing to support culture and creativity in our cities around the world to help drive sustainable development. Filmmakers are story tellers and first and foremost but also support the local creative economy in many ways. I am delighted that two films made in Bradford recently will be screened in Bitola this week. They are both excellent films and provide a great showcase for the talent that we have in Bradford. On the journey towards Bradford 2025 we hope to showcase more work from locally based filmmakers at events across the world. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the film cities within that provide some great opportunities for this.
Filmmaker Louisa Rose Mackelston said; I am absolutely thrilled that Ruth & Safiya is being shown in Bitola and that international audiences will be able to take a glimpse at Bradford life. I think it’s so important we celebrate our culture and tell our stories through film and it’s great that we’ve been given this opportunity to share them with other UNESCO cities of film.