Galway has recently received the honour of being designated as a UNESCO City Of Film. Following a campaign that started two years ago, a total of 63 countries from around the world were shortlisted for the honour. The award is given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in recognition to a particular regions contribution to cinema and media studies.
Galway made the final cut of just five cities worldwide to be selected. The television and film industry in County Galway employs approximately 600 people and generates an estimated €70m for the local economy every year. Galway’s final application was submitted last March. The award means that Galway will now join the UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network as a designated UNESCO City of Film.
This exciting news now means that the county will have permanent and immediate access to a global platform, joining over sixty major cities across the world. These include major cultural hubs such as Sydney, Seoul, Shanghai, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Berlin and Edinburgh. The award could also go a long way in helping the county’s bid in becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2020.
Speaking about the award was Irish Film Board chairman Bill O’Herlihy who said, “This is 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. The appointment of Galway as a permanent Unesco City of Film is recognition of the value of Irish filmmakers – directors, writers, producers, the Galway Film Centre, the Galway Film Fleadh, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and TG4 – to the cultural fabric of Galway.”
The news was also met with great approval from President Michael D. Higgins who said “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.”
Also speaking recently about the news Mayor of Galway, Cllr. Donal Lyons remarked: “I am absolutely thrilled on behalf of the city of Galway and would like to thank and congratulate everyone who has been involved in this successful bid. This is fantastic news for the film, TV, artistic and cultural community, and of course the city and region as a whole. It reflects so positively on Galway’s strong heritage of film and acknowledges our current level of creative activity, pointing to a bright future for the production, promotion and appreciation of film in Galway and the West.”
Mr. Lyons went on to say, “The designation of Galway as a UNESCO City Of Film will, of course, add to and enhance our international status as a creative city and will be enormously beneficial to our bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2020. Galway is now recognised internationally for our quality of artistic work and engagement, which is testament to all those working in this creative vibrant and lucrative film and TV sector.”
Declan Gibbons, manager of Galway Film Centre, said, “This is hugely significant for Galway to be honoured and awarded the UNESCO City of Film status and it has already opened doors for us. This will open so many opportunities for Galway that it is actually quite overwhelming.”