Clio Barnard: The Arbor

Premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2010
Screened in the UK from October 2010
DVD release March 2011

Manjinder Virk as Lorraine Dunbar Manjinder Virk as Lorraine Dunbar

- Best New Documentary Film-maker at the Tribeca Film Festival 2010
- Best British Newcomer & Most Original Debut at the London Film Festival 2010
- Best Debut Director at the British Independent Film Awards 2010
- Best Screenplay at the 2010 London Evening Standard Film Awards
- Best Cinema Documentary at The Griersons 2011

Andrea Dunbar wrote honestly and unflinchingly about her upbringing on the notorious Buttershaw Estate in Bradford and was described as ‘a genius straight from the slums.’ When she died tragically at the age of 29 in 1990, Lorraine was just ten years old.

The Arbor revisits the Buttershaw Estate where Dunbar grew up, thirty years on from her original play, telling the powerful true story of the playwright and her daughter Lorraine.

Also aged 29, Lorraine had become ostracised from her mother’s family and was in prison undergoing rehab. Re-introduced to her mother’s plays and letters, the film follows Lorraine’s personal journey as she reflects on her own life and begins to understand the struggles her mother faced.

Artist and director Clio Barnard also grew up in the Bradford region and in making the film, Barnard wanted to revisit the estate to see how it had changed in the two decades since Dunbar’s death.

Barnard recorded audio interviews with Lorraine Dunbar, other members of the Dunbar family and residents from the Buttershaw Estate over a period of two years. These interviews were edited to form an audio ‘screenplay.’ which forms the basis of the film as actors lip-synch to the voices of the interviewees.

Clio Barnard speaks about The Arbor in the third Artangel Podcast, Memory. Click here to listen or download.

Presented by Artangel and UK Film Council in association with Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Arts Council England and More4.  An Artangel Production. Producer Tracy O'Riordan. Directed by Clio Barnard.


Funders and Collaborators
Jerwood Charitable Foundation UK Film Council Lottery funded Arts Council England Lottery Funded Verve Pictures More4 AHRC