Born into a working-class family in Dartford, Kent, Andrea Arnold initially set her sights on becoming an actress. She moved to London in the late 1970s and by the mid-1980s was widely known across Britain for hosting the popular children’s program No. 73. By the early 1990s, however, Arnold decided to turn her attention to writing and directing, and she moved to Los Angeles to study filmmaking at the American Film Institute. She directed her debut short film, Milk, in 1998 and followed that up with Dog (1998) and Wasp (2003). Wasp, which was loosely based on Arnold’s own working-class family, earned her an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short, thus signaling her rise as a major directing talent.
Her debut feature Red Road (2006) was equally as well received, earning the prestigious Jury Prize at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. Arnold directed two more films, Fish Tank (2009), which won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film of the Year, and Wuthering Heights (2011), before helming her first project for an American studio with 2015’s American Honey. Widely anticipated upon its release, the film cemented Arnold’s position as one of the most well-regarded British filmmakers of her generation.