A FILM described as a “compelling contemporary love story” crossing boundaries of age, class and race has been shot in Bradford.

Ali & Ava, about the relationship between a Catholic grandmother and a younger Asian man, is the latest film from Otley-born Bafta-nominated director Clio Barnard. It was shot at Holme Wood, Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford Cathedral grounds and street scenes around Laisterdyke and Tong. Holme Wood residents appear as extras, and graduates from the University of Bradford were among the crew.

Ali & Ava stars Adeel Akhtar, who was in the films Four Lions and Swimming With Men, and Claire Rushbrook, whose credits include Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies and wartime TV drama Home Fires.

Ava is a respected matriarch on a predominantly white Bradford estate. In her 50s, from an Irish-Catholic background, she’s a devoted mother, grandmother and teaching assistant who fills her time looking after others and listening to country music, masking the scars left by an abusive ex-husband. Ali, in his mid-30s, is a charismatic son, brother and boss, a music and book lover and moon watcher, devoted to his family and Asian community. Still living with his estranged wife, he hides their separation from his family, in a painful charade. Both lonely for different reasons, Ava and Ali find each other and sparks fly, despite their own fears about intimacy and expectations of their families and communities.

David Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, said: “We were closely involved in this production. The crew were based in Merchants House in Little Germany, and we worked with Incommunities and residents in Holme Wood, where a semi-detached house was used for filming.

“Ali & Ava is very much a Bradford film; local people have been involved in making it, as well as being in it, and we provided graduates’ CVs. The story developed from people Clio met making other films here over the years.”

He added: “Authenticity is at the heart of all Clio’s work. Many people in Bradford appreciate her film-making; she knows the city well - we need more local voices like hers.”

The production, by Moonspun Films, is financed by BBC Films, BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, and Screen Yorkshire. Producer Tracy O’Riordan said: “It was wonderful to be back in Bradford shooting Clio’s fourth feature, a love story based on people we met while making previous films there. Inspired by (1974 German film) Fassbinder’s Fear Eats the Soul, Ali & Ava is about fear and courage, loneliness and belonging, time and love.”

Writer/director Clio Barnard’s debut film, The Arbor, explored the life of Buttershaw writer Andrea Dunbar. Mixing drama and documentary, it featured interviews with Dunbar’s family and scenes shot on Buttershaw estate. It won several international awards and the director was nominated for Bafta’s Outstanding Debut in 2011.

Her next film, The Selfish Giant, about two boys in Bradford who turn to scrap metal dealing, was shot in Odsal and Buttershaw and starred two teenage boys from Holme Wood. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 and won several awards including British Film of the Year at the London Critics Circle. Clio’s third film, Dark River, starring Ruth Wilson, of TV’s Luther and The Affair, and Game of Thrones actors Mark Stanley and Sean Bean, was shot around Skipton and Malham.

Mr Wilson revealed that he takes copies of The Selfish Giant on international trips, in his role as City of Film director, “as a calling card to show the quality of film-making in Bradford”.

* Hair and make-up students from the University of Bradford and Bradford College have been dressing extras on The Duke, which has just completed filming in Bradford. Starring Dame Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent, it has been shooting at locations including City Hall, Cannon Mills and Cartwright Hall.