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.
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. The film is financed by BBC Films, BFI (awarding National Lottery funding) and Screen Yorkshire, with Altitude handling world sales and UK and Irish distribution. ALI & AVA was filmed on location in Bradford, supported by our filming partners Bradford Film Office.