ENTERTAINMENT Clio Barnard Considers Her New Movie “Ali & Ava”...

Clio Barnard Considers Her New Movie “Ali & Ava” A Joyful Act Of Resistance


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Clio Barnard’s first documentary feature film, “The Arbor”, received the Douglas Hickox Award at the BIFA, the Best British Newcomer Award and the Sutherland Award at the BFI London Film Festival, the Best New Documentary Director Award at Tribeca and a BAFTA nomination for the Outstanding category. Debut. His second feature film, “The Selfish Giant”, premiered as part of the 2013 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, where it won the Europa Cinema Label Award for Best European Film. It was nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film. Barnard, winner of a BFI Screenwriting Fellowship, is also the director of “Dark River,” starring Ruth Wilson, which premiered at TIFF 2017, and the television adaptation of “The Essex Serpent”, starring Claire Danes.

“Ali & Ava” opened in NYC on July 29 and is deployment to additional cities Today, August 5.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

CB: “Ali & Ava” is a love story about two people who feel lonely despite being surrounded by people they love. Set in a lunar month, Ali and Ava are a catalyst for change in each other’s lives.

W&H: What attracted you to this story?

CB: I met two people who inspired me: Rio, who the character of Ava is inspired by, and Moey Hassan, who the character of Ali is based on, while making my previous films “The Selfish Giant” and “The Arbor.” The film is also a love song to the city of Bradford – I wanted to make a film that would celebrate the city.

W&H: What do you want people to think of after seeing the film?

CB: I want people to leave the theater wanting to dance on top of a car! I want people to leave the theater with a strong sense of possibility and a feeling of joy. adeel [Akhtar, who plays Ali] and I spoke of joy as an act of resistance.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

CB: The film touches on a difficult subject, but I didn’t want it to be heavy-handed, so finding that balance was a big challenge.

W&H: How did you get financing for your film? Share some ideas about how you made the movie.

CB: The film was financed by BBC Films, the British Film Institute and Screen Yorkshire.

W&H: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

CB: I have a background in visual arts and started using a hand-wound 16mm Bolex to record charcoal drawings as they changed, and fell in love with celluloid. I loved watching movies as a kid: Nicolas Roeg’s “Performance” and Akira Kurowsawa’s “Rashomon” made a big impression on me as a teenager.

W&H: What is the best and worst advice you have received?

CB: The best advice was a good cast and a good crew.

The worst advice was to get a proper job – an ex told me it was unrealistic to think I could make a living making movies.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

CB: Your voice is needed – we want to hear the stories you want to tell, told the way you want to tell them.

W&H: Name your favorite female-directed film and why.

CB: This is hard to answer because there are so many. If forced to choose, I would say “Vagabond” by Agnès Varda because it was made in the mid-80s, when a film directed by a woman was a rarity, and it is a brilliant film that mixes dramatic and documentary elements with a great central performance. and a great structure.

W&H: What responsibilities, if any, do you think storytellers have in dealing with the tumult in the world, from the pandemic to the loss of abortion rights and systemic violence?

CB: Yes, I think storytellers have a responsibility to respond to the tumult of the world.

W&H: The film industry has a long history of underrepresenting people of color on screen and behind the scenes and of reinforcing and creating negative stereotypes. What actions do you think should be taken to make it more inclusive?

CB: Yes, there is an urgent need to have many more people of color in all areas of the film industry. In the UK, people of color make up three per cent of the workforce in the film industry despite being 17 per cent of the population and 40 per cent of the population in London, where the majority of the workforce, so a big push is really needed. to address racial inequality in the film industry.

There has to be positive action from everyone, at all levels, in all organizations; those in positions of power need to acknowledge the problem and recruit people of color to be the gatekeepers (commissioners and executive producers) to bring about real change and address inequality in terms of writers/directors/producers on screen and behind the camera .

We can all play a role in promoting and bringing about positive change.

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