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There are just five 'cities of film' in the world - and Galway's now one of them

The announcement has been described as “hugely significant”.

Declan Gibbons, Galway Film Centre; Patricia Philbin, Galway City Council SEO Culture; Mayor of Galway Donal Lyons, David Wilson UNESCO City of Film Bradford, and Gary McMahon, Galway City Council.
Declan Gibbons, Galway Film Centre; Patricia Philbin, Galway City Council SEO Culture; Mayor of Galway Donal Lyons, David Wilson UNESCO City of Film Bradford, and Gary McMahon, Galway City Council.
Image: Andrew Downes

GALWAY HAS BECOME the fifth city in the world to have been awarded the permanent status of UNESCO City of Film.

Galway Film Centre and Galway City and County Councils drove the bid process which started two years ago.

The final submission on behalf of the consortium of over 50 organisations drawn from across Galway city and county was submitted in March 2014.

Some 63 cities worldwide were shortlisted by UNESCO.

Bradford in the UK , Galway’s twin city , was the first city to be awarded the title of UNESCO City of Film in 2009.

The UNESCO Creative Cities network seeks to develop international cooperation amongst cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable development.

Galway city and county already boast an impressive film and TV industry, worth in the region of €72m to the local economy and employing over 600 people full time.

Declan Gibbons, manager of the Galway Film Centre, said the news was “hugely significant”. He’ll be travelling to London tomorrow to meet the Director General of the BBC, the Head of Sky Arts, and the CEO British Film Institute.

Bill O’Herlihy, Chair of the the Irish Film Board, said the announcement was “a major international achievement not just for Galway, but for the country”.

“Film has always run through the veins of Galway, and holds a strong cultural, artistic and economic value,” he added.

President Michael D Higgins was among those to offer congratulations.

“Galway is such a vibrant city whose people support a wide range of cultural activities and they fully deserve this UNESCO award. Galway has a long and proud tradition of supporting various cultural activities, including film. This permanent award will undoubtedly raise Galway’s worldwide profile as a significant player in the creative sector,” Higgins stated.

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Órla Ryan

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