Bradford Video Portraits

As part of The Caravan Gallery’s Bradford Pride of Place Project we created a short film capturing honest accounts of what it means to live in Bradford today.


Thanks to the 46 generous supporters of our Kickstarter campaign we travelled around the city, meeting many people who make Bradford unique. Participants include our Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, councillors and cultural leaders, market stall holders, bus drivers, comedians, curry connoisseurs and football fanatics. Those who took part range from age 8 to 80 and each has a personal story to tell

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Bradford Video Portraits: Shoot 7, 8 and 9

Shoot 7: Tuesday 12 May: Bradford City Hall

The weather wasn’t at its best for Tuesday, being incredibly windy which meant that filming outdoors was a definite no. Filming on Tuesday 12 May began with interviewing Cllr. David Green Leader of  Bradford Council and Cllr. Susan
Hinchcliffe, Portfolio Holder, Employment Skills and Culture. We filmed them both in one of Bradford’s most beautiful buildings the City Hall. Being able to do filming inside City Hall was definitely a great opportunity as it was a new experience for myself. The interior design of City Hall is absolutely stunning as you can definitely see the history behind the architecture, dating back to 1873.

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The inside of City Hall was huge, it seemed like a maze in trying to find David Green. Both David Green and Susan Hinchcliffe were very enthusiastic in describing Bradford and what makes it unique. To film these two councillors allows the public and ourselves a chance to see the casual and informal side of politics. To reflect on the political perspective of Bradford, the town can be seen as “resilient, hard working and welcoming” which I feel sums up Bradford pretty well.

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In finishing the filming of City Hall, it was a bit tricky to find our way out of this elaborate building. With it being such a huge building, I’m surprised we didn’t get lost, but be soon found our way out.

Shoot 8: Tuesday 12 May,  Bradford City Library

Our next location was filming inside Bradford City Library. Even though we had already done some filming in the children’s section of the library, we wanted to get an inside view of what the staff of the city library think of Bradford. We also chose a great moment to do filming as it was quiet and there weren’t many people around, meaning there would be no disruptions. From the view of Fatima Desai, her favourite aspect of Bradford is centenary square in the summer when groups of friends and families are surrounding the water park.

Shoot 9: Tuesday 12 May: 1in12 club

The next location for filming was completely new to me, I had no idea that it even existed! I guess that’s one of the perks of the ‘Bradford Video Portraits’, we are always discovering new places in Bradford. It definitely is well hidden within town. The 1in12 club is very unique and rustic which gives the club a sense of ‘pizazz’. We had the perfect location of filming in their library as the surroundings showed the age of the building and the different uses of the library – a place for people to relax amongst friends or somewhere to get your work done.

The building possesses a unique style which cannot be replicated, it’s almost as if it is lost in time. It feels like this club is home to a diverse group of young people who have fresh and new views about Bradford. It was fun to listen to the different thoughts on Bradford, they delved into the weird and strange aspects of Bardford that make the town quirky and fun. It was interesting how Bradford can be seen as being unpredictable and “bleak yet colourful at the same time”. What I felt was very accurate and also funny was when someone commented on how their favourite element of Bradford is that in Bradford, “everything is always uphill so wherever you go there is a good view at the end”. That’s the countryside for you!

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Bradford Video Portraits: Shoot 5 and 6

Shoot 5: Friday 8 May, Little Germany

On Friday 8 May our first shoot was in Little Germany where we had arranged an interview with David Wilson Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film. It was very enjoyable as the weather was on our side this time, giving us sunshine all morning.  Filming in Little Germany was truly astounding as the architecture surrounding the Bradford Design Exchange was really impressive, being able to see the history within the architecture.

David Wilson even brought with him a clapper board with the New Focus logo on it, talk about professional! It was a nice touch to see that New Focus had their own clapper board, making it feel like Bradford Video Portraits will soon become the next Hollywood Blockbuster.

Hearing David Wilson’s view towards Bradford was fresh and new, expanding on the view of Bradford being diverse and welcoming towards new and different cultures. During the interview with David Wilson, I was amazed and surprised to learn that within Little Germany, in the area behind the Bradford Design Exchange, Bollywood and Hollywood scenes had been filmed within that same area – in Bradford! To know that scenes from films such as The King’s Speech were shot in Bradford stunned me, but I made sure to keep my amazement and shock to myself.

The majority of interviews (so far) which New Focus have directed within this project have explored the diversity and multicultural element of Bradford. which, of course, reinforces the friendly and open nature of Bradford. But What was refreshing to hear from David Wilson was how he sees Bradford as being “edgy, but in a good way!” Some could see this statement as possibly negative, but David Wilson quickly clarified that by ‘edgy’ he means that Bradford, unlike other cities, possesses a quirky element which makes it stand out and makes it more exciting, especially for the younger generation as it is becoming a more modern city.

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Shoot 6: Friday 8 May: Bradford City A.F.C stadium

The weather was still behaving itself so far, but in being warned that it would soon pour it down with rain later in the evening, we needed to make sure that we arrived to our next destination before it decided to rain on our parade. Now our next location definitely spurred some excitement amongst our film crew (Luke and Jonathan) as they were over the moon in going to a football stadium. Personally, I didn’t know what the big deal was but that could be due to the fact that I am not a big football fan. But I have to admit that when we arrived at the stadium, it was a pretty impressive site to behold. It was a first time I had ever been to a football stadium and I have to say, it was definitely an amazing first experience, one I am sure none of us will forget. Next to the stadium is the free school, ‘One In A Million’. It was an amazing opportunity, being able to interview two students from the school along with the co-founder Wayne Jacobs, to see where his passion for the city stems from. Along with setting up the filming equipment and making sure that we got these interviews done before the downpour, there was still some time to have some fun and admire the view within the stadium. Being able to stand on the football pitch and see the vastness of this stadium. It seems without a doubt that in order to capture the essence and passion of Bradford, the Bradford city football team has to be included. From an outside perspective, it was truly a wonderful experience being able to casually walk on the pitch – made us wish we brought a football with us.

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Bradford Video Portraits: Shoot 3 and 4

Shoot 3: Saturday 2 May Leeds Road

On Saturday 2 May, our first shoot was on Leeds Road where we had arranged interviews with different retail owners to capture their image of Bradford.

As we journeyed along Leeds Roads, it became clear that the majority of people we interviewed are very enthusiastic and passionate about their home town of Bradford. The owner of the convenience store ‘The Orange Tree’ for example, explained how his favourite locations within Bradford are the various museums and galleries, such as The National Media Museum, The Industrial Museum and (yours truly) the Impressions Gallery.

It was refreshing to hear people talk about the historical aspects of Bradford and to be reminded of Bradford’s past. I’m glad the New Focus filming crew captured the passion people feel towards this underrated city and how they ‘feel blessed with the historical sites within Bradford’.

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As well as its proud history, many commented on what they felt made Bradford special today. This included Bobby’s Baraber, who stated quite assuredly that in being a barber for 8 years ‘Bradford is truly quite stylish’

Also, let us not forget the friendly employess over at Mughals Resturant who also commented on how Bradford is well known for its Asian cuisines. There are many perks in being a part of the filming process of the Bradford Video Portraits. Being treated to some free samosas and sweet mithai, courtesy of ‘Mughals’ restaurant for instance, highlights the generous and hospitable nature of Bradford.

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Let us not forget the viewpoints of the younger Bradfordians as their input is just as valuable as the older generation. To go against the negativity of Bradford being ‘rough’ and ‘boorish’, it is extremely reassuring to hear from the younger generation how they feel that Bradford is a “fun and safe” place to be in. Even through wind and rain, we where still able to capture the positiveness of Bradford.

Shoot 4: Saturday 2 May Oastler Market

Proud stall owners within Oastler market also noted the diversity within Bradford. They saw the city as a community filled with a variety of beliefs and customs, creating a vast network of cultures and races.

During our little travels within Bradford, it was interesting to note the power of the camera and how people assume that we are a part of the BBC or ITV. During the process of filming within Oastler Market, we soon had our own little crowd of spectators, wondering whether this will be on TV tonight. Bradford Video Portraits may not be shown on every television screen in England, but we can say with confidence that it will be shown on the Bradford Big Screen in Centenary Square, so just wait and see.

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Final filming of the day in Impressions Gallery and City Library

At the end of this long and eventful day of filming, we managed to squeeze in three young voices and hear about Bradford from the outlook of a comedian.

It has been fun seeing how Bradfordians are very proud of the diversity of people within the city, and how it’s variation of cultures and traditions, make it unique in its own right. So far, Bradfordians have shown a strong sense of loyalty towards the city as it represents for them, a source of multiplicity and community.

Bradford Video Portraits: Shoot 1

We want to thank all 46 backers of our Kickstarter campaign Bradford Video Portraits, altogether we raised £600. We are now super excited to start our journey exploring Bradford and finding out what it means to live in our city today. Thanks to your support we are hoping to interview at least 50 Bradfordians from councillors to market traders to school children we want to capture the vast diversity of our city from people aged 5 to 90.

Shoot 1, Friday 24 May: Time for Tea at Impressions Gallery

Our first shoot was last Friday 24 May at Time for Tea a regular event at Impressions Gallery. The event started at 11.30 and by 11.45 the gallery was full of visitors chatting away and enjoying the lovely free cake. By 12 noon we had already interviewed 5 people we could not believe how much people wanted to share their stories about Bradford. It was really interesting to hear from people who had lived in Bradford since the 60s and 70s. We got loads of brilliant stories about what Bradford was like in its hey day and how the city has changed over the last 50 years.

Shoot 2, Friday 24 May:  Familiar Faces from Bradford City Centre

Our next shoot was around Bradford City centre we organised interviews with some of our favourite local businesses. We also managed to interview the lovely Ron in Bradford interchange while he was fundraising for the Bradford Marie Curie hospice .

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Next we will be interviewing the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. We will then be taking a trip up Leeds Road to meet some of Bradford’s Barbers, Shop Managers and Restaurant owners to find out what their Bradford is like.

Bradford Video Portraits will be shown at Impressions Gallery, Fuse Art Space and on the Bradford Big Screen throughout summer 2015, as part of a major city wide project the Bradford Pride of Place Project