John Lewis marks Birmingham arrival with short film to celebrate the city and its people

‘Forward – A Film for Birmingham’ unveiled ahead of flagship shop launch a week today

John Lewis has today revealed ‘Forward – A Film for Birmingham’, a short film to celebrate the city and its people.


Commissioned to mark John Lewis’s arrival in the city one week today, the art piece was created by independent local filmmakers Blue Monday and profiles Birmingham and its community at an exciting, transformative time.

Featuring a variety of individuals who live and work in Birmingham, the emotive film follows Birmingham’s stars of the future – medics, musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs - as they go about their daily activities, capturing their passion and pride in the city that they call home.

The stories told in ‘Forward – A Film for Birmingham’, include food enthusiast Dom Clarke from Peel & Stone who is part of the city’s culinary transformation. He is joined by husband and wife team Zaki and Ghaniah Hassan-Smith, doctors leading the way in cutting-edge medical research at Queen Elizabeth Hospital; Birchfield Harriers and Team GB 400m star Jarryd Dunn; and Alpesh Chauhan, the assistant conductor for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra making an impact on the international stage, amongst others.

The film launched today on and the retailer’s social media channels. Once the shop opens on 24th September, customers will be able to view the film and an exclusive ‘Behind the Scenes and Making Of’ in the shop’s new Community Room on Level 4.

In addition the full film will be showcased at the neighbouring Electric Cinema before all screenings throughout the day on Thursday 24th September.

Lisa Williams, Head of Branch, John Lewis Birmingham, said:

Birmingham is such a fantastic place to live and work – being from Birmingham myself I know just how special the city and its people are.
It’s an exciting year for Birmingham and as a business we are very proud to be part of this. It’s a city brimming with talent, energy, and a desire to be a place which leads the way.
'Forward – A Film for Birmingham’ captures the essence of our city and what makes it unique – its people. The film demonstrates their contribution to the local community and beyond, as well as their passion about the place that they, and now we, are proud to call home.
As a community we can be quite modest about our achievements, and it’s John Lewis’s hope that this celebratory film will be a landmark art piece enjoyed and shared by the city and its people today and for years to come.

Shot over a period of 10 weeks, the extensive creative process saw filmmakers Blue Monday capture eight hours of footage, involving 20 interviewees in 29 locations across three countries. The footage then underwent a 50-hour editing process and was combined with additional elements, including the soundtrack by Birmingham musician, Alex Ohm.

Rory Barber from filmmakers Blue Monday said:

Being asked to make a project about your home city is an honour, it's the pride in being able to represent something that you care about.
Birmingham just does what it needs to do without shouting about it, there's a warmth and an honesty to things that are made here, the people who represent the city and to its community.

This film is intended to remind us of the great work that people do all over the city every day. We couldn't be more honoured to be given this opportunity by John Lewis.

The film can be viewed here:



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