Stars show support for under-threat film and television museum

Mike Leigh and David Hockney speak out to save Bradford's National Media Museum

Movie big-wigs, artists and photographers are among a host of high profile cultural figures who’ve opposed controversial plans to transfer up to 400,000 objects from Bradford’s National Media Museum to London.

In a letter published in the Guardian this week, 83 cultural luminaries – including film-maker Mike Leigh and artist David Hockney – have criticised the Science Museum Group’s plans to relocate an internationally renowned photography archive to the Victoria & Albert museum in London.

According to the letter, moving cultural assets from the Yorkshire city “goes against government policy to put such facilities outside London.”

The intervention comes amid controversy surrounding the museum’s decision to axe the Bradford International Film Festival after 20 years of attracting Hollywood heavyweights to the city.

The Science Museum Group say the move is part of a “change of focus” for the National Media Museum, which critics say is undermining Bradford’s status as the world’s first UNESCO City of Film.

Judith Cummins, the Labour MP for Bradford South, said she was “flabbergasted” by the museum’s announcement that it will end the festival. She said: “The museum told me that they were ‘focused on delivering a vibrant film festival programme’, now they are announcing that they are abandoning the hugely popular film festival.”

Meanwhile, film buffs in Bradford have responded to the axing of the International Film Festival by launching the Drunken Film Fest – which will use the city’s pubs and bars to showcase independent film-making.

Festival organiser and Bradford-based film-mkaer Jax Griffin is now inviting people to submit their short films for July’s festival.

Griffin told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus: “There was such a public outcry with all the things happening in recent weeks with the Media Museum. I asked a few people if they were willing to host a new festival and so many people said they wanted to help.”

“Drinking is not an essential aspect. It’s about ‘getting drunk’ on film and promoting local businesses and Bradford as a City of Film,” she added.