Feature film shot in Bradford praised by critics after premiere in Cannes

A feature film shot in West Yorkshire received a “wonderfully warm reception” and some glowing reviews when it premiered at a prestigious event in Cannes.

Ali & Ava is one of 24 feature films that has premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight
Ali & Ava is one of 24 feature films that has premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Ali & Ava is written and directed by Bafta-nominated Clio Barnard, who is from Otley, and it was shot in Bradford

Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions, Back To Life) and Claire Rushbrook (Secrets & Lies, Home Fires) play the lead roles in the film, which tells the story of two lonely middle-aged people who fall in love after their shared affection for a six-year-old girl brings them together, but then struggle to overcome lingering issues from previous relationships.

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It is one of 24 feature films that has premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, which began on July 7 and runs alongside the Cannes Film Festival.

The Guardian described Ali & Ava as an “understated triumph”, while a reviewer from the film magazine Screen Daily said “the glow of emotion makes this a very rich watch”.

A UK release date for the critically-acclaimed film, which was financed by BBC Films, British Film Institute and Screen Yorkshire, has not been announced yet.

Caroline Cooper Charles, head of Creative at Screen Yorkshire, said: “What a joy to see Ali & Ava enjoy a wonderfully warm reception at Cannes.

"Clio has captured the spirit of Bradford with such tender honesty and it’s great to know that audiences are walking straight from the red carpet into this vibrant celebration of the city and its people.”

Ms Barnard's first feature film The Arbor, a documentary about the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, was praised by the critics after it was released in 2010.

Three years later, her second film The Selfish Giant, which is about two 13-year-old working-class friends in Bradford seeking their fortune, won the British Film of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Awards.