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Clio Barnard

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Clio Barnard
Clio Barnard in Mexico City in 2012
Born (1965-01-01) January 1, 1965 (age 59)
OccupationFilm director
Years active2000–present

Clio Barnard (born 1 January 1965) is a British director of documentary and feature films. She won widespread critical acclaim and multiple awards for her debut, The Arbor, an experimental documentary about Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. In 2013 she was hailed [1] as a significant new voice in British cinema for her film The Selfish Giant, which premiered in the Director's Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Early life and education


Barnard grew up in the town of Otley in Yorkshire. Her father was a university lecturer and her mother was an artist who later became a jazz singer.[3] She graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic[4] (now Northumbria University), with a First Class B.A. (Hons) with distinction in fine art and received a Post-Graduate Diploma in Electronic Imaging at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. In 1988, her post grad video work Dirt and Science featured Jane and Louise Wilson and toured internationally as part of the ICA Biennial of Independent Film & Video, curated by Tilda Swinton.[5]

Reception and awards


Critics have likened Barnard's realist yet lyrical work to that of Ken Loach. Time Out said of The Selfish Giant, "this is Kes revisited in a post-Thatcher northern England."[6]

Her debut feature The Arbor (2010) won several awards, including Best New Documentary Filmmaker at Tribeca Film Festival New York, Best Newcomer and Sutherland Awards at The London Film Festival, Douglas Hickox Award at British Independent Film Awards, The Guardian First Film Award, Best Screenplay at the London Evening Standard Film Awards, the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival Innovation Award and the Jean Vigo Award for Best Direction at Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival. She was nominated for the BAFTA Outstanding Debut Award in February 2011.



Barnard participated in the 2022 edition of the Sight & Sound film polls, which are held every ten years to commemorate the greatest films of all time and rank them in order. Directors and critics both give their ten favourite films of all time for the poll; Barnard picked The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), Rashomon (1950), Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Andrei Rublev (1966), L'Atalante (1934), Road (1987), Chronicle of a Summer (1961), Vagabond (1985), Hunger (2008) and La strada (1954).[7]


Year Title Director Writer Producer
2000 Lambeth Marsh Yes No No
2002 Random Acts of Intimacy Yes No No
2003 Flood Yes Yes Yes
2010 The Arbor Yes No No
2013 The Selfish Giant Yes Yes No
2017 Dark River Yes Yes No
2021 Ali & Ava Yes Yes No
2022 The Essex Serpent[8] Yes No Executive


  1. ^ Nick Roddick "Fairy tale film-maker: Clio Barnard interview", London Evening Standard, 25 October 2013
  2. ^ Charlotte Higgins "Selfish Giant director becomes toast of Cannes", The Guardian, 17 May 2013
  3. ^ Sean O'Hagan "Clio Barnard: why I'm drawn to outsiders – interview", The Observer, 12 October 2013
  4. ^ Sebastian Doggart "The Brits breaking new ground in New York City", telegraph.co.uk, 21 May 2010
  5. ^ "Clio Barnard - Reader - Film Studies", School of Arts, University of Kent
  6. ^ Dave Calhoun "The Selfish Giant (15)", Time Out (London), 21 October 2013
  7. ^ https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/greatest-films-all-time/all-voters/clio-barnard
  8. ^ "The Essex Serpent". See Saw Films. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2021.