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PRODUCTION / FUNDING UK

Principal photography wraps on Clio Barnard's Ali & Ava

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- The fourth feature by the writer-director is a contemporary love story starring Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook

Principal photography wraps on Clio Barnard's Ali & Ava
Claire Rushbrook and Adeel Akhtar in Ali & Ava

Principal photography has wrapped on Ali & Ava, the fourth feature by writer-director Clio Barnard (Dark River [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Clio Barnard
film profile
]
, The Selfish Giant [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Clio Barnard
interview: Clio Barnard
film profile
]
, The Arbor [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
). Shooting recently took place on location in Bradford for the film produced by Barnard's long-term producer Tracy O'Riordan (Dark River, The Selfish Giant, Dream Horse), of Moonspun Films. The movie is financed by BBC Films, the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding) and Screen Yorkshire, with Altitude handling world sales and UK and Irish distribution.

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Producer O'Riordan says of the film, “It was wonderful to be back in Bradford shooting Clio's fourth feature; it’s a love story based on people we met whilst making our previous films there. Inspired by Fassbinder's Fear Eats the Soul, Ali & Ava is a film about fear and courage, loneliness and belonging, time and love.”

Ali & Ava is a compelling contemporary British love story imbued with the intricacies of age, class and race. Ava (Claire Rushbrook) is a respected matriarch on a predominantly white Bradford estate. In her fifties and from an Irish-Catholic background, Ava is a devoted mother, grandmother and teaching assistant who fills her time looking after others and listening to country and folk music, masking the scars left by an abusive ex-husband. Ali (Adeel Akhtar) is a charismatic son, brother, boss and landlord, an avid music and book lover and moon watcher. In his mid-thirties, Ali is devoted to his family and the Asian community in Bradford. Still living with his estranged wife, he hides their separation from his family, painfully continuing the charade of marital domesticity because he still loves her. Both lonely for different reasons, Ava and Ali find each other and sparks fly, despite their own fears about intimacy and the expectations of their respective families and communities.

Rushbrook recently appeared in leading roles in Don't Forget the Driver (BBC) and No Offence (Channel 4). Her film credits include Secrets and Lies, Under the Skin [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonathan Glazer
film profile
]
, Spider-Man: Far From Home and the upcoming Enola Holmes, opposite Millie Bobby Brown.

Akhtar has received acclaim for both his comedic roles and his dramatic performances in films including Four Lions [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, The Big Sick, The Dictator, Pan, Swimming With Men [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Victoria & Abdul [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. In 2017, he won the BAFTA Leading Actor Award for his role in the BBC drama Murdered by My Father, making history for being the first non-white actor to do so.

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