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Clio Barnard’s Dark River

Acclaimed Yorkshire born director Clio Barnard returned to her home county to film her third feature film project Dark River, set for cinematic release in 2017. Golden Globe award winner  Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Luther) stars in the haunting family drama alongside Sean Bean (The Martian, The Lord of The Rings, Game of Thrones) and Mark Stanley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kajaki, Game of Thrones).

Dark River is written and directed by Clio Barnard and produced by Tracy O’Riordan’s Moonspun Films with investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund.

Sean Bean (The Martian, The Lord of The Rings, Game of Thrones) stars in Dark River


Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to her home village for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers. Once there she is confronted by a brother (Mark Stanley) she barely recognises, worn down by years of trying to keep the farm going, who is naturally hostile to her arrival and her claim over the tenancy. Their dispute unearths traumatic memories for Alice, memories which have remained dormant for years but which now threaten both of their futures.

Mark Stanley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kajaki, Game of Thrones) stars in Dark River

Former Leeds College of Art student , writer/director Clio Barnard has established herself as one of the UK’s most distinctive cinematic voices following rave reviews and awards for her feature-length debut The Arbor, a documentary about the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, as well as her sophomore feature The Selfish Giant. The latter film followed two scrappy 13-year-old working-class friends in Bradford seeking their fortune by getting involved with a local scrap dealer and criminal. The film was a huge critical success on its release, launching at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and winning the British Film of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Awards along with a host of other festival awards.

Clio Barnard (pictured below) was the first recipient of the Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Fellowship, in partnership with BFI and Film4, in 2013. Dark River was developed during her year in residence at Wellcome when she had unparalleled access to experts in traumatic memory.

Film4 and the Wellcome Trust developed Dark River. Left Bank Pictures is producing with backing from the BFI and Screen Yorkshire through its Yorkshire Content Fund. Protagonist Pictures is handing international sales. Longtime Barnard collaborator Tracy O’Riordan is producing.