BFI’s London Film Fest Crowns Clio Barnard Best Newcomer

 The Guardian reports that The London Film Festival has named filmmaker Clio Barnard the Best British newcomer, while also honoring her with the prestigious Sutherland award for her moving documentary, The Arbor. The 90-minute film captures the life of British playwright Andrea Dunbar while also exploring the tense relationship with her daughter, Lorraine.

Dunbar composed her first script, also entitled The Arbor, when she was 15 and it was later performed at Royal Court. The promising writer also penned Rita, Sue and Bob Too, which turned into a feature film directed by Alan Clarke in 1986. But despite such growing success, Dunbar couldn't escape the frustrations of her rough life in Bradford, England, and she later died of a brain hemorrhage age 29 in 1990. Barnard, also a Bradford native, interviewed some of Dunbar's family as well as Lorraine, and these edited conversations are lip-synched by actors throughout the film.

The Arbor also earned Barnard the award for Best New Documentary Filmmaker at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.

Additional winners at the 54th annual London Film Festival include Russian director Alexei Popogrebski, whose How I Ended This Summer was awarded Best Film. Denmark's Janus Metz Pedersen took home the award for Best Documentary for his in-depth look at Danish soldiers serving in Afghanistan in Armadillo. British Oscar winner Danny Boyle, whose 127 Hours will close out the festival on Thursday, was officially recognized for receiving this year's British Film Institute's fellowship, adding that he was pleased to be "the runt of the litter" next to his previous fellows.