The Story Behind Fish Tank

Heartfelt, painful drama Fish Tank arrives in our cinemas this Friday.

We decided to take a look at the talented writer/director behind the film - Andrea Arnold - and explore her long, strange journey to making this, her second feature film.

She's gone from kids' TV to Cannes Jury Prizes in a short decade, and Fish Tank deserves your dosh at the cinema.

Next: Shorts story


Next: Walking the Red Road


Next: Diving into Fish Tank


Next: Casting uknown leads


Next: ...And Making Sure They're Supported


Next: Shooting Fish


Next: Awards Glory


8. Awards Glory

Fish Tank was accepted at Cannes this year, drawing plenty of plaudits (including glowing reviews on video and in print from us).

The festival was capped with the director scoring another Jury Prize and winning a deal with IFC Films for the movie to be shown across the pond. There's no word on a release date there, but an Oscar nomination may not be out of the question if Tank makes it on the schedule in time.

Arnold is philosophical about such things: 'Don't worship the bitch goddesses of success and applause'.'"

Oh, and don't ask the director what she thinks of her work: "You can never ask me that question." She has a Samuel Beckett quote on her office wall: 'Ever tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail better.'

"It's the biggest lesson for anyone doing anything creative: to not mind risk, to not play safe," she says. "Put everything into what you're doing and don't worry about what anybody thinks."

Next: It's here at last


9. It's Here At Last

After a long road from Arnold's head to our screens, Fish Tank arrives on Friday. We know the director would want you to seek it out: “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.”

For now, though, the filmmaker's ready to move on. "I'm just trying to start work on something else. It's probably going to have no famous actors in it and be very small scale."

We'll be looking forward to it...

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Freelance Journalist

James White is a freelance journalist who has been covering film and TV for over two decades. In that time, James has written for a wide variety of publications including Total Film and SFX. He has also worked for BAFTA and on ODEON's in-cinema magazine.