Under the UNESCO Creative Cities Network Galway is now one of only five cities in the world to achieve this much sought-after status, joining Sydney, Australia and Galway’s twin city of Bradford in the United Kingdom as a designated City of Film.
Following a fiercely competitive evaluation process, 63 cities worldwide were shortlisted by UNESCO to fifty cities with twenty making the final selection, one of which was Galway.
The UNESCO Creative cities network seeks to develop international cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable development. Galway city and county already boast an impressive, healthy and growing film and TV industry, worth in the region of $89 million (€72m) to the local economy and employing over 600 people full time.
Such international recognition propels Galway into an impressive worldwide network, opening new opportunities in the world of film and TV. UNESCO city of film presents Galway with hugely positive economic, creative and artistic opportunities, sharing in a vast international resource while fostering worldwide cooperation for sustainable urban development.
Declan Gibbons, manager of Galway Film Centre, was also delighted, and stated, “It has already opened doors for us. I travel to the Houses of Parliament in London…to meet the Director General of the BBC, the Head of Sky Arts, the CEO of the BFI as well as Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam as part of a UNESCO event organized by Bradford City of Film. If we hadn't gotten the designation I would not be going. This will open so many opportunities for Galway that it is actually quite overwhelming.”
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys said, "Galway has a long association with film-making and the audiovisual sector going back over many years and it is a fitting testament to all of the great directors, producers, writers and actors who have made Galway their home. From that creative home, they have produced memorable works that has led to this great honor for their city."
Galway boasts a rich film heritage with productions made in the county including Robert O'Flaherty's ‘Man of Aran,’ John Ford's ‘The Quiet Man,’ Joe Comerford’s ‘Reefer and the Model,’ the pioneering work of Bob Quinn, Jim Sheridan’s ‘The Field,’ and more recently Canadian-Irish co-production ‘Stay’ and 2011’s critical and commercial hit ‘The Guard.’