Galway has just cemented its status as the home of film in Ireland. Long-known to attendees of the Galway Film Fleadh, the designation becomes official this morning, with an announcement from the Director-General of UNESCO ( United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) that Galway has beat out 63 other cities to become an official City of Film.

Galway now formally joins the UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network including major metropolitan and cultural centres such as Sydney, Seoul, Shanghai, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Berlin and Edinburgh.

The UNESCO Creative cities network seeks to develop international cooperation amongst cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable development. 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.

Commenting on the news, director of the Galway Film Fleadh, Miriam Allen said, “The recognition is fantastic. It acknowledges that Galway is central to the Irish Film Industry and through Galway, it’s an acknowledgment of the Irish Film Industry as a sustainable and majorly significant one that stands shoulder to shoulder with other UNESCO cities on the world stage. Certainly, it provides a more stable platform for the Fleadh to continue the work that we do; making international inroads for Irish filmmakers year upon year, and connecting Galway audiences to the rest of the world.”

Ms. Allen further went on to say, “I think it should also be recognised that this is an accolade achieved by hard working, grass-roots organisations like the Galway Film Centre, Galway Film Society, Galway Picture Palace and the Galway Film Fleadh. As well as looking globally, I am personally looking forward to seeing what opportunities this affords Galway audiences at home, starting with the opening of the Picture Palace – and Film Fleadh 2015, of course!”

The bid process for this prestigious designation began two years ago on behalf of a consortium of over 50 organisations across Galway City and County and the application went through a lengthy evaluation process involving international experts in urban development, culture and creative industries.

Today, Galway celebrates this historic achievement and looks forward to the next chapter as a world centre of excellence and creativity. The 27th Galway Film Fleadh, which already enjoys an international reputation for creativity and excellence in cinema, takes place from 7th – 12th July next year and looks forward to inviting our guests to an official City of Film in 2015.