The Selfish Giant director has told Screen how the Wellcome Trust and BFI Screenwriting Fellowship has informed her upcoming project.
Award-winning filmmaker Clio Barnard has revealed how a new grant has fed in to her next film, an adaptation of Rose Tremain novel Trespass.
The director of The Arbor and The Selfish Giant was awarded the first Wellcome Trust and BFI Screenwriting Fellowship in association with Film4 this time last year, which included a grant of £30,000 ($50,000).
She has spent a year meeting psychologists, psychiatrists and neuroscientists investigating memory, perception, hallucination and the impact of trauma.
Ahead of the announcement of the new Fellow on Wednesday (Nov 26), Barnard told Screen: “I’ve met a lot of scientists and it has been inspiring in ways I hadn’t expected.
“At other times, it was much more focused on the script I’m writing at the moment and fed directly into that.
“I was particularly interested in how trauma affects memory, which relates to Trespass.”
Currently writing a second draft of the script, Barnard said of the planned film: “It’s about someone in their 60s who, as a teenager, was abused within their family.
“In a novel you can jump around in time but it’s much harder in film as flashbacks can be a bit naff.
“What I’m trying to do is describe memory on film in a way that’s informed by all these conversations I’ve had with scientists.
“Part of what has been fascinating about those conversations is that scientists use the term ‘flashback’, which comes from film – so art is informing science and science is informing art.”
Asked about the most impactful take away from the past year, Barnard said: “I met with a forensic psychologist who treats perpetrators of sexual abuse. In order to write the script, I needed to be able to understand that psychology, which was incredibly useful.
“In order to write a character or give an actor direction, you have to understand that person from their point of view.”
Her advice for the next recipient of the Fellowship was: “Make time for it and have a completely open mind because they really want to inspire you.
“You can go off in a direction that you didn’t expect you’d be interested in and really dig deep without feeling there has to be a product at the end of it.
“There’s no expectation for you to deliver. They just want to inspire screenwriters. It’s such a privilege.”