Beguiling and free-spirited, Jon Sanders and Anna Mottram’s uplifting and emotionally intense film explores sisterly bonds and the process of mourning. Sisters and performance artists Phoebe and Dot (Josie Lawrence and Tanya Myers) have returned to their family home on the Isle of Wight a year after the death of their composer mother. As they prepare the house for its sale, clearing decades of family clutter, they have started to work on a site-specific performance piece about their complex relationship with their mother and her serial infidelities; this incorporates her compositions for pianola and songs using the poems of Victorian, feminist poet Mary Coleridge, one of which A Clever Woman gives the film its title.

Over one day, they - plus house-sitting musician Tom (James Northcote) and the sisters’ producer/curator Monica (Anna Mottram) -are forced to engage with the ghosts of the past and the void left behind.

At once a celebration and a lament, Sanders and Mottram’s improvised production style lends itself perfectly to a story that is playful, raw and always surprising.

Jon Sanders - director, co-writer

After Cambridge University, he studied film at the Slade School of Art under Thorold Dickinson. He has had a long and distinguished career in the film industry, working as an editor, sound recordist (From Mao to Mozart, Oscar winning film about Isaac Stern’s tour of China), documentary maker (Then When the World Changed, co-directed with cameraman, (Roger Deakins) and writer/director. His collaboration with the artist Lucia Noguiera Smoke (7 mins) 1996 is now part of the Tate Collection. His first feature film, Painted Angels (106 mins), starring Kelly McGillis and Brenda Fricker, which was about prostitution in the Wild West, premièred at the Rotterdam Film Festival and was released in the UK in 1999 by Artificial Eye. His second feature film Low Tide (86 mins) premiered at Curzon Soho in January 2008 and in 2012 Late September was released at the ICA London. His next film Back to the Garden (2013) opened at Curzon Soho, A Change in the Weather (2017) opened at Picturehouse Shaftesbury Avenue; all three were then shown at independent screens and were released on DVD by Verve Pictures.

A Change in the Weather

“A profoundly affecting portrait...arrives at a soul-shaking emotional truth ... Tthoughtful and touching, where hope and happiness are imbued with a gentle melancholy."
★★★★ Jason Solomons

“The latest, and most ambitious film from Jon Sanders ....Anna Mottram is magnetic in the role of Lydia, the actor wife who gradually realises that her marriage is over .”

"Compelling. A searing, impressionistic portrait of how love can change over time...poetic and memorable"
★★★★ Britflicks

"This is real cinema" Front Row Reviews “Real meaning and beauty” Sight and Sound

“ The film questions love and long-term marriage astonishingly well….the emotions portrayed are palpable and acted superbly.”
★★★★ The Upcoming

“A stunning, meditative film - made for the cinema"
Club des Femmes

Back to the Garden

"Jon Sanders returns with another valuable, serious example of high-minded, low-budget British ensemble drama..... delicate, sober and thoughtful"
Peter Bradshaw THE GUARDIAN

"There are dappled shades of Joanna Hogg, with less formal determination, in elegiac British ensemble drama Back to the Garden ..."

"Jon Sanders’ bittersweet improv drama carries a calm power that slowly surfaces through long, open takes"

Late September

"British director Jon Sanders, working within a budget that wouldn’t pay for a second-rate Hollywood star’s caravan, is following in the footsteps of the Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu… Not without humour, full of irony and with a real feeling for disjointed lives"
★★★★ Derek Malcolm EVENING STANDARD

"Pent-up emotions, sadness and congealed love are magnificently and subtly conveyed by a cast of obviously great experience...... "
★★★★ Jason Solomons MAIL ON SUNDAY

"Jon Sanders’ spellbinding Late September......the best kind of magic here, the kind that comes from a seemingly empty hat."
★★★★ Nigel Andrews FINANCIAL TIMES

Low Tide

"A small film about life and death that hits home more than most self-important big ones."
★★★★ Derek Malcolm

"Low Tide is a micro-budget drama about the last days of a terminally ill middle-aged woman. Distinguished by an elegant, very English sense of formal restraint but raging with raw, heartfelt emotion, the film is remarkably moving, sometimes unbearably so. It's well worth seeing."
Time Out

"Low Tide offers a radical template for a revived British auteur cinema."
Vertigo Magazine

"One of the best, if not the best, no budget films I have ever seen."
Jim Stark

Painted Angels

"A startlingly new view of the old west...boldly original and beautifully acted."
Derek Malcolm, The Guardian

“Achingly moving"
Phillip French, The Observer

"A graceful drama that does full justice to its subjects"