Clio Barnard

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Clio Barnard
Occupation Film director
Years active 2000–present

Clio Barnard 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 dad was a university lecturer and her mum 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]


Clio Barnard is a reader in the Film Studies Department and director of undergraduate studies at the University of Kent. She teaches the BA practical filmmaking modules and supervises research students. Barnard designed Representing Actuality, a 12-week practical filmmaking course which explores the relationship between fiction and documentary film forms and language.[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.


Year Film Roles
2000 Lambeth Marsh Director
2002 Random Acts of Intimacy Director
2003 Flood Writer, Director
2010 The Arbor Director
2013 The Selfish Giant Writer, Director


  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",, 21 May 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Clio Barnard - Reader - Film Studies", School of Arts, University of Kent
  6. Dave Calhoun "The Selfish Giant (15)", Time Out (London), 21 October 2013

External links