Ava (Claire Rushbrook) Ali (Adeel Akhtar) in ALI & AVA. Image: Dean Rogers for Avali Film Ltd

In cinemas now

Bradford-set love story ALI & AVA was released in cinemas on Friday 4th March 2022. Enveloped in music and imbued with humour, ALI & AVA, starring Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions, Back To Life) and Claire Rushbrook (Secrets & Lies, Home Fires) is written and directed by Clio Barnard (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant, Dark River) and part financed by Screen Yorkshire.


Both lonely for different reasons, ALI and AVA meet through their shared affection for SOFIA (6), the child of ALI’s Slovakian tenants, whom AVA teaches. ALI finds comfort in AVA’s warmth and kindness and AVA finds ALI’s complexity and humour irresistible. Over a lunar month, sparks fly and a deep connection begins to grow. However, the legacy of AVA’s past relationship and ALI’s emotional turmoil at the breakdown of his marriage begins to overshadow their newfound passion.

Find a screening

Filmed and set in Bradford, ALI & AVA has screened to critical acclaim and is shortlisted for BAFTA Awards in two categories: Outstanding British Film and Best Actor (Adeel Akhtar). The BAFTA Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Sunday 13th March 2022.

Watch the trailer

Filming locations

ALI & AVA was filmed on location in Bradford with additional support from Bradford Film Office. Filming locations include the beautiful Waterstones bookshop in Bradford City Centre, Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford Cathedral grounds, the Cow and Calf Rocks in Ilkley, Keighley and Worth Valle Railway, Holme Wood, Laisterdyke and Tong.

Writer/director Clio Barnard has established herself as one of the UK’s most distinctive cinematic voices. Her feature-length debut The Arbor, a documentary about the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, received huge critical success on its release in 2010 and numerous awards. Her sophomore feature The Selfish Giant, about two 13-year-old working-class friends in Bradford seeking their fortune, launched at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes in 2013 and won the British Film of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Awards along with a host of other festival awards. Her third feature, Dark River, starring Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley and Sean Bean premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival gaining a special mention from the festival jury for the Platform Prize.

ALI & AVA is produced by Clio Barnard’s long-term producer Tracy O’Riordan (Dark River, The Selfish Giant, Dream Horse) of Moonspun Films for Altitude, with finance from BBC Films, BFI (awarding National Lottery funding) and Screen Yorkshire.

What would happen if you took melodrama as a genre and applied it to a social-realist version of Bradford that’s based on real people? It’s an opportunity to think about what it means to be part of a community. There’s a lot of kindness, generosity and support in Bradford and I wanted to see that writ large on the big screen.

Clio Barnard, writer / director: Ali & Ava

Filming wrapped on 'Ali & Ava' in Bradford in January 2020, so we've been waiting some time to finally share this wonderful story with audiences. Inspired by the people of Bradford, Clio and Tracy have created a warm and hopeful film which shows how kind and supportive people can be to one another - a much-needed message after the events of the last two years.

Caroline Cooper Charles, Head of Creative, Screen Yorkshire