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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

National Media Museum pushed aside prominent calls to keep running Bradford International Film Festival

Film stars, from left, Jim Carter, Michael Palin, Alan Bennett and Richard Griffiths at the 2008 Bradford International Film Festival

National Media Museum pushed aside prominent calls to keep running Bradford International Film Festival

CONFIDENTIAL papers exclusively obtained by the Telegraph & Argus show the National Media Museum pushed aside prominent calls for it to keep running the Bradford International Film Festival.
The revelation has provoked anger from City of Film bosses, who say they feel "quite powerless" to influence those running the museum.
The International Film Festival, which attracted Hollywood heavyweights to the city for 20 years, was suspended in 2014, when a review into the museum’s festival programme was announced.
Now the review documents, released to the T&A under the Freedom of Information Act, show leading figures from film and culture voiced strong support for the festival, and other film festivals run at the museum, as a key part of Bradford’s status as a City of Film.
And at a meeting of the Bradford City of Film board in 2014, museum bosses were quizzed about whether they remained "committed to delivering festivals".
The papers also reveal that the museum stopped subsidising the festival in 2012 and had struggled to find external sponsorship.
While the festival attracted 10,000 to 12,000 visitors, ticket sales only covered 25 per cent of its cost.
Responding to the new documents, Bradford City of Film director David Wilson said while he recognised film festivals had to be sustainable, they could be run on very little money if needs be.
But he said he felt Bradfordians were “quite powerless” to affect the decision-making process at the National Media Museum.
He said: “It’s a shame that the museum, with its reputation and all of its collections, couldn’t see a way forward to continue to host or be part of a significant film festival in Bradford.
“But we are powerless to do anything about that in a way because it is funded by the Government and it is run by the Science Museum Group.”

He raised questions about the transparency of the review process – saying he was surprised that this was the first time he had seen a document setting out the review's findings.

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