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Unesco designates Mumbai 'A Creative City' among others

Mumbai has earned a unique distinction of being named as a Creative City in 'Film' by UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities the Network has identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. In all the Network has named 246 cities that work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

Mumbai, India

Mumbai is the capital city of the State of Maharashtra where Indian Cinema was born with the first-ever film show at Watson's Hotel on 7 July 1896. Ever since the City kept nurturing Cinema and creative people from all over the Indian subcontinent kept flocking to the city, finding a new home here.

Today, the City boasts of Who's Who of Indian cinema and birthplace of Indian cinema. Right from the Father of Indian Cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke to the modern-day film personalities, all found a home here. Home to the Hindi and Marathi film industries, Mumbai supports film production offering great infrastructure and Creative Minds. The Hindi Cinema, more popularly known as Bollywood globally, comprises 45% of the Indian Film Market. Right from Equipment Suppliers, Studios, Cinema halls, post-production, VFX facilities, film festivals, film schools, the city also offers 'Film Finance'.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network constantly adds cities to its Network each year. The cities added this year are Mumbai (India), Potsdam (Germany), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Valladolid (Spain), and Wellington (New Zealand). The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.

Commenting on new inclusions, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said,“All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy. This favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations.”

The new list comprising of a total of 66 UNESCO Creative Cities with recent inclusions reads like this :

  • Afyonkarahisar (Turkey) – Gastronomy

  • Ambon (Indonesia) – Music

  • Angoulême (France) – Literature

  • Areguá (Paraguay) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Arequipa (Peru) – Gastronomy

  • Asahikawa (Japan) – Design

  • Ayacucho (Peru) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Baku (Azerbaijan) – Design

  • Ballarat (Australia) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Bandar Abbas (Iran [Islamic Republic of]) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Bangkok (Thailand) – Design

  • Beirut (Lebanon) – Literature

  • Belo Horizonte (Brazil) – Gastronomy

  • Bendigo (Australia) – Gastronomy

  • Bergamo (Italy) – Gastronomy

  • Biella (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Caldas da Rainha (Portugal) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Cebu City (Philippines) – Design

  • Essaouira (Morocco) – Music

  • Exeter (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Literature

  • Fortaleza (Brazil) – Design

  • Hanoi (Vietnam) – Design  

  • Havana (Cuba) – Music

  • Hyderabad (India) – Gastronomy

  • Jinju (Republic of Korea) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Kargopol (Russian Federation) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Karlsruhe (Germany) – Media Arts

  • Kazan (Russian Federation) – Music

  • Kırşehir (Turkey) – Music

  • Kuhmo (Finland) – Literature

  • Lahore (Pakistan) – Literature

  • Leeuwarden (Netherlands) – Literature

  • Leiria (Portugal) – Music

  • Lliria (Spain) – Music

  • Mérida (Mexico) – Gastronomy

  • Metz (France) – Music

  • Muharraq (Bahrain) – Design

  • Mumbai (India) – Film

  • Nanjing (China) – Literature

  • Odessa (Ukraine) – Literature

  • Overstrand Hermanus (South Africa) – Gastronomy

  • Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) – Music

  • Portoviejo (Ecuador) – Gastronomy

  • Potsdam (Germany) – Film

  • Querétaro (Mexico) – Design

  • Ramallah (Palestine) – Music

  • San José (Costa Rica) – Design

  • Sanandaj (Iran [Islamic Republic of]) – Music

  • Santiago de Cali (Colombia) – Media Arts

  • Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) – Music

  • Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – Film

  • Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Slemani (Iraq) – Literature

  • Sukhothai (Thailand) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Trinidad (Cuba) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Valladolid (Spain) – Film

  • Valledupar (Colombia) – Music

  • Valparaíso (Chile) – Music

  • Veszprém (Hungary) – Music

  • Viborg (Denmark) – Media Arts

  • Viljandi (Estonia) – Crafts and Folk Art

  • Vranje (Serbia) – Music

  • Wellington (New Zealand) – Film

  • Wonju (Republic of Korea) – Literature

  • Wrocław (Poland) – Literature

  • Yangzhou (China) – Gastronomy

Post inclusion of these five cities, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network the count now rests at 246 now. In the Film category 18 cities from around the world, from UK to New Zealand, from Brasil to Japan, have being designated as “City of Film”. Valladolid City (Spain) joined the network in 2019, along with Mumbai (India), among others.

With Netflix Series like 'Money Heist' which put Spain on the world cinema map, and Indian films like 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' which was shot in Spain, we reached out to Mr. Juan-Manuel Guimerans, (DG Culture, Commerce & Tourism, Valladolid City Council, and General Secretary, Spain Film Commission) to understand why Valladolid made to the City of Film list.

"We are a city of cinema for being a set chosen by important filmmakers in the past, as Orson Welles or Anthony Mann, but also for promoting and attracting new film-makers today. Valladolid is City of Film, because we really believe in the value of Creativity, in all fields. For almost 900 years Valladolid, a city of not more than 300.000 inhabitants in the Northwest of Spain, has been the hometown of Emperors as Philip II and Explorers as Christopher Columbus, of Artists in all fields, from Literature (Cervantes) to Visual Arts (Gregorio Fernández), of Scientists and Politicians, of Gastronomy, Industry and Finance leaders... All of them, in their specific fields and with the tools available, were creative and helped to change their time. Creativity has many faces but a single aim: to constantly advance in making live better. We have been doing that for centuries in Valladolid and want to keep on going, nowadays with a special view on Sustainability and Inclusion, with the help of all local and international stakeholders, and yes, with a special focus in the creative field most beloved in our city."

While the member cities of the Network are from all continents and regions having different income levels and backgrounds, they share a common objective of placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, quite in tune with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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