The second feature film by Hong Khaou (Lilting, 2014) is a subtle exploration of a British-Vietnamese man’s search for national and cultural identity as he returns to his birth country of Vietnam for the first time in thirty years.
Written and Directed by Clio Barnard
Produced by Tracy O'Riordan
Executive Produced by Left Bank Pictures
Funded by BFI, Film 4, Screen Yorkshire and the Wellcome Trust
On learning the news of her father’s death, itinerant contract sheep shearer Alice Bell (Ruth Wilson) returns to the family farm, a once beautiful small holding on the Yorkshire moors, to claim the tenancy she believes is rightfully hers.
Estranged from the family for fifteen years, Alice’s homecoming is not an easy one. Her brother, Joe (Mark Stanley) has remained at home caring for their ill father, Richard (Sean Bean) and kept the declining farm going in her absence. Joe is thrown by Alice’s sudden arrival and is hurt and angered by her claim on the tenancy.
In an unconscious attempt to turn the clock back Alice is determined to make both the farm and sibling relationship work. However, she suffers intrusive memories because of her father’s sexual exploitation of her when she was a teenager. Joe finds Alice’s presence impossible to deal with as it stirs up the past for him too.
Following Richard’s death the landlords want to capitalise on the property and perceive Alice to be a threat. They offer Joe a way out of what he sees as an impossible situation by offering him a backhander – on the condition that he evicts his sister.
Battling to regain control in a fraught and fragile situation, Alice must confront deep- seated and painful family secrets and betrayals to find a way to repair the damage to the farm and her bond with her brother before both are irrevocably lost.
Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s story of the same name, THE SELFISH GIANT is a contemporary fable about two teenage boys who get caught up in the world of copper theft. 14-year-old Arbor (Conner Chapman) and his best friend Swifty (Shaun Thomas) are excluded from school and are outsiders in their own community. They meet Kitten (Sean Gilder), a local scrapman, and begin collecting scrap metal for him using a horse and cart. Swifty has a natural gift with horses while Arbor boasts a business brain and a way with words. But when Arbor begins to emulate Kitten, becoming greedy and exploitative, tensions build, leading to a tragic event which transforms them all irrevocably.
'A re-telling of a fairy tale based on fact', THE SELFISH GIANT is writer-director Clio Barnard’s second feature film. Barnard based her adaptation on stories she was told and people she met whilst making THE ARBOR. She got to know a group of boys between the ages of 10 and 16 who used horses and carts to collect scrap metal, and in particular one boy who was the basis of the character of Arbor in the film.
Technical Achievement for Casting - BIFA
Best Film - South Bank Sky Arts Awards
Best British Film, Best Newcomer - Conner Chapman - London Critics Circle Awards
Europa Cinema Label for Best European Film - Cannes Film Festival
Best Film - Stockholm Film Festival
Le Hitchcock DOr Award for Best Film, Prix Coup de Coeur & Prix de limage (Best Cinematography) - Dinard Film Festival
Grand Prize - St Jean de Luz film festival
GSA Award - Hamptons International Film Festival
Grand Prix - Ghent Film Festival
New Auteur Audience Award & New Auteur Award for Direction - AFI Festival
Outstanding British Film - BAFTA
Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Newcomer, Best Achievement in Production - BIFA.
Best Film and Best Newcomer - Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas - LFF
'Numerous celluloid experiments have fudged reality and fiction lately, but few are as formally inventive or socially revelatory as The Arbor' -Ronnie Scheib, Variety
THE ARBOR is the powerful true story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar (Rita, Sue and Bob Too) and her troubled relationship with her daughter Lorraine. Andrea wrote honestly and unflinchingly about her upbringing on the notorious Buttershaw Estate. When she died, tragically at the age of 29 in 1990, Lorraine was just ten years old. THE ARBOR catches up with Lorraine in the present day, also at 29; ostracised from Buttershaw and her family. Through compelling interviews we learn that Lorraine sees her mother as a destructive force; an alcoholic who let her suffer abuse and whom Lorraine blames for all that is wrong in her life. Through interviews with other members of the Dunbar family, we see a contrasting view of Andrea, in particular from Lorraine’s younger sister Lisa, who idolises Andrea to this day.
Clio Barnard began recording audio interviews with Lorraine, Lisa and members of the Dunbar family over a period of two years. With over 90 hours of audio recorded, Barnard edited the material to form an audio ‘screenplay’ which forms the basis for the film as actors lip-synch to the voices of the interviewees. Barnard’s film seeks to chart the changes and reflect on the insights Andrea’s plays offer into the tragic circumstances of Lorraine.
photo credit Nick Wall
Best New Documentary Filmmaker - Tribeca Film Festival 2010
The Sutherland Award and Best British Newcomer - LFF 2010
The Innovation Award - Sheffield Documentary Festival 2010
The Douglas Hickox Award (plus 5 nominations) - BIFA Awards 2010
Best Screenplay - Evening Standard Film Awards 2010
Jean Vigo prize for Best Director - Punto De Vista - 2011
Guardian First Film Award - 2011
Doc Art Award - Planete Doc Film Festival 2011 - Warsaw
The Grierson Awards 2011 - DocHouse & The Bertha Foundation Best Cinema Documentary
Cinema Eye Honors2012 - Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Best Documentary / Non-Fiction Film
Four London Critics Circle Awards
BAFTA 2010 - Outstanding Debut, Clio Barnard and Tracy O'Riordan
AKRAM KHAN: HOMELAND
Funded by More4 and Arts Council England.
Acclaimed dancer and choreographer Akram Khan provides a remarkable insight into the creation of Desh - his first contemporary solo show in 11 years.
DESH, meaning 'Homeland' in Bengali, is an exploration of acclaimed contemporary dancer and choreographer Akram Khan's British/Bangladeshi heritage and is his most personal work to date. It draws multiple tales of land, nation, resistance and convergence into the body and voice of one man trying to find his balance in an unstable world. Moving between Britain and Bangladesh, Khan weaves threads of experience and myth into a surreal world of surprising connection.
The film follows Akram and his production team at each stage of the creative process, beginning with a research trip to Bangladesh as they gradually develop a visual and sonic celebration of one mans desire to reconnect with his heritage.