Creating Unity and Community through Film in Bradford

A short film made with and by women from the Sudanese community in Bradford was screened at the River’s Edge International Film Festival in Paducah, Kentucky, USA (1-4 November 2018).

The film titled Unity and Community forms part of a wider project called the Neighborhood Film Project which has been developed by Bradford UNESCO City of Film together with a range of partners and community groups across Bradford. The Neighborhood Film Project set up initially in 2016 aimed to bring communities together through film literacy and conversation. A series of film screenings were arranged in community venues and members of the community were consulted on the film titles.

Unity and Community from Bradford UNESCO City of Film on Vimeo.

Sohare Norman from the Bradford Sudanese Community Centre and who narrates the film said: following some of the initial film screenings at venues close to the Sudanese Community Centre we started to discuss Sudanese culture in more detail with the team at Bradford City of Film. David suggested that we should make a film about Sudanese fashion, Sudanese coffee and so on. Some of the group who meet every Saturday got really excited about telling our story through film. Following a successful application to the Big Lottery Fund made by Bradford UNESCO City of Film we were then introduced to filmmaker Simona Manni and together we created the short film which gives a brief overview of what life is like as a Sudanese woman living in Bradford and how we help each other out. I am delighted that the film will be seen by audiences in the US, bringing the story of Sudanese people living in Bradford to a wider audience.

The film Unity and Community is ten minutes long and shows the regular Saturday afternoon meetings held by Sudanese women at the Bradford Sudanese Community Centre and gives an insight into how they support each other.

Simoma Manni filmmaker said: It was a real pleasure to work with the Sudanese women to make the film and to get an insight into some of the challenges the community face but also the opportunities they create together. The community development work encouraged by Bradford UNESCO City of Film is really important and it is great to be able to share this with an international audience.

As part of the initial stages of the project the team from Bradford UNESCO City of Film screened some archive films of Bradford at the Bradford Sudanese Community Centre and gave a talk about Bradford’s rich film heritage. This encouraged further dialogue and engagement.

David Wilson, Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film delivered the session: What we tried to do was turn some of our existing film literacy methods upside down and make them relevant to people and a community who have recently settled in Bradford. It was the great feedback on some of the archive footage that led me to suggest that the group might want to make a film about their story, their lives, as they are now living in Bradford. Simona and the women’s group hit it off straight away and I think the end result is something they should all be very proud of.