Star movie director comes to Sussex to talk about her career

Andrea Arnold

Award-winning British film director Andrea Arnold, whose latest movie American Honey won this year’s Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, will be ‘in conversation’ at the University of Sussex on 3 June (2016). 

Arnold, who received an honorary degree from the University last year and is currently an Associate Fellow at the School of Media, Film and Music, will be on stage at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts to discuss her films, which include Wuthering Heights (2011), described by Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian as “brilliant” and “visceral”, and the multi award-winning social realism dramas Fish Tank and Red Road.

The event, which is open to the public, begins at 3pm with a series of academic presentations and discussions about her work. Arnold will be on stage at 7pm. People wishing to attend should book their seats here.

Event organiser and lecturer in Media and Film Dr Michael Lawrence said: “Andrea is a world-class film director and it has been a privilege to have had her involvement with the School in the past year.

“She came to talk about Wuthering Heights with students on my course on ‘Adaptation’, and she gave a master class to postgraduate filmmaking students. She also very kindly invited me to bring some students to a screening of the rough cut of American Honey earlier this year, which I know they found extremely interesting.”

Born in Dartford, Kent, Arnold left school at 16 and became a dancer before moving into television in the 1980s to present a Saturday morning children’s show, No 73, with comedian Sandi Toksvig.

Following studying at the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, her film directing career took off with her 2003 short film Wasp, about a single mother’s struggles, which won her an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

In presenting her for an honorary degree at the University’s winter graduation ceremony in 2015, Dr Sue Thornham said: “Andrea Arnold is one of our finest UK film directors. She is also one of only a very few women directors to be able to not only sustain a successful directing career, but to consistently win the highest international awards for her films.”

In her acceptance speech, Arnold surprised the audience by finishing with a cartwheel on stage.

The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, formerly the Gardner Arts Centre, has been completely refurbished and is now hosting major arts events, including Brighton Festival highlights 'Complicite' and folktronica pioneer Beth Orton.

The Grade II*-listed building, designed by Sir Basil Spence, now hosts a state-of-the-art 350-seat auditorium, extensive gallery and display areas designed for art and audio visual installations, rehearsal studios, breakout creativity zones, and a new café and bar - to be enjoyed by students, staff and the public.

The building takes its new title in tribute to the University’s former Chancellor Lord (Richard) Attenborough and his family.

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016