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Andrea Arnold OBE

Andrea Arnold OBE

English filmmaker and former actor. She won an Academy Award for her short film Wasp in 2003. Her feature films include Red Road, Fish Tank, and American Honey, all of which have won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cow (2021)

A compelling portrait of the life of a dairy cow called Luma that marks her first foray into feature-length documentary filmmaking.

This intimate and observational work chronicles its subject’s daily life, from grazing in green fields to giving birth, making milk and everything in between. A profoundly empathetic and unexpectedly moving contemplation of life and our relationship with animals, this is pure cinema shot through with Arnold’s typically vivacious energy.

American Honey (2016)

A group of young adults traveling across the country selling magazine subscriptions. The meandering plot focuses on the journey of the mag-crew kids as they drink, smoke, dance, joke around, and have various conversations in their van. The film had its world premiere and competed for Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. It won Arnold her third Jury Prize. The film features a mix of both professional and non-actors, with all the non-actors being found through construction sites, parking lots, and on beaches. Out of the 15 youth actors cast, 11 had never acted before. The lead Sasha Lane was spotted by Arnold on a beach during spring break. Arnold shot the film in chronological sequence, not telling her actors where they were going next. The film was released in the United States on 30 September 2016, and in the United Kingdom on 14 October 2016, by A24 and Focus Features respectively.

Wuthering Heights (2011)

Arnold’s third film was based on Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel and starred Kaya Scodelario and James Howson. This is the first film that Arnold has directed which she did not write herself, though she did co-write the screenplay. Originally, the film adaptation was set to be directed by Peter Webber, who directed Girl with a Pearl Earring, but Arnold was asked to take over and gladly accepted. The film was made in 18 months, which is half the amount of time Arnold used to make Red Road and Fish Tank. Oscilloscope Laboratories picked up the North American distribution rights to the adaptation, which won Best Cinematography at the Venice Film Festival in 2011, being praised for its visuals.

Fish Tank (2009)

Accepted into competition for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Jury Prize. In its initial production, distributor Artificial Eye had acquired the UK theatrical rights, while ContentFilm International handled the worldwide sales. The film was backed by the Limelight Fund, BBC Films and the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund. The film was shot entirely on location in the UK. Arnold was adamant about shooting the film in chronological order, so that the journey of the film would make sense to new coming actor Katie Jarvis. She would only give her a day’s worth of script to study so that she could take it day by day. The film originally premiered on around 45–50 screens in Britain, making them less accessible to the general public. In regards to this, Arnold said, “I definitely feel sorry more people don’t get to see my films. They aren’t inaccessible, and if people got the chance to see them, I know they’d like them. I wish cinema [owners] could be braver, or had more money to help them show films like mine.” The film cost around $2 million to make, which is still a relatively low budget for a feature-length film. Fish Tank won many awards including the best film award at the Evening Standard Film Awards. Fish Tank was released on 11 September 2009. The film and Arnold were honoured at the 20th Annual Women in Film and TV Awards in 2010.

Red Road (2006)

Part of a creative series proposed by the Advance Party of Filmmakers to create three films using the same characters, all directed by different new directors. It tells the story of a CCTV security operator who observes through her monitors a man from her past. It is named after, and partly set at, the Red Road flats in Barmulloch, Glasgow, Scotland which were the tallest residential buildings in Europe at the time they were built. It is shot largely in a Dogme 95 style, using handheld cameras and natural light.

One rule was that if any of the directors decide to incorporate a new main character, then all of the other films must incorporate that character as well. All three directors cast together so they could all see who they believed would fit their film as well as the others. Arnold mainly used first-time actors, stating that “I always want the world that I create to be its own universe. When you have really famous people, I find that it is very hard to transcend that awareness. I am always aware of who they are. When you see someone for the first time, that universe feels even more real. I like the idea of working with either unknowns or people that haven’t even acted before.” Red Road cost $1 million to make and was shot digitally on a schedule of six weeks. The film was accepted into competition for the Palme d’Or in Cannes and received the Jury Prize.

Wasp (2003)

26 mins

Wasp is a short (26 minutes) written and directed by Arnold. It stars Natalie Press as a struggling single mother determined not to let her four young children prove an obstacle in the pursuit of igniting a relationship with an old friend (Danny Dyer). Arnold’s native Dartford is the setting. The film was commissioned by the UK Film Council and the Britain’s Channel 4. It won the Sundance Short Film Prize in 2005, and won Arnold an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.

Dog (2001)

11 mins

A teenage girl gets ready to go out to meet her boyfriend, despite her mother’s loud verbal disapproval of her clothes. She goes out to a deserted area with him and he begins to touch her up and have sex with her, however a dog reveals the true nature of her boyfriend.

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