A film that had casted school girls in east London in many of its roles has been honored with five awards at the British Independent Film Awards.
Rocks has won Britain’s best independent film, and one of its stars, 17-year-old Kosar Ali, has been named the best supporting actor and most promising new-comer.
Rock has received a brilliant review when it came out last year and is now on Netflix.
Other winners include D’Angelou Osei Kissiedu, who was just seven years old when he played the little younger brother Emmanuel.
He was named best supporting actor, with a seven-decade age gap between him and the winner of the best actor award – Sir Anthony Hopkins, 83, who was recognised for playing a man struggling with dementia in The Father.
The Cast Statement
Finding young Rocks’ stars, director Sarah Gavron and acting director Lucy Pardee auiditioned an estimated 1,300 students, many of whom had no acting experience. The chosen cast then improvised much of the film’s dialogue.
After Thursday’s awards ceremony, Ali, who plays the role of Rocks’ best friend Sumaya, told PA media that the film had made her “understand myself as a person as well as an actor”
She said: “Before this whole experience I never thought I would be who I am today, winning awards and even pursuing this acting career.”
Director Ameenah Ayub Allen said Rocks was a celebration for women filmmakers. “They were making this film that had a truly independent spirit. It had a truly independent style,” she said.
“When we were filming, we always thought the film was imbued with the spirit of a teenage girl and it is just phenomenal that it has come here and that the spirit of a teenage girl has won best film, with a completely different way of film-making, with all these incredible women.”
18-year-old Bukky Bakray, who plays the title actor, had also been nominated for best actress. That award went to Wunmi Mosaku for refugee horror His House, which had four wins in total. The Father won three, while psychological horror Saint Maud won two.
Actor Riz Ahmed also won the debut screenwriter award for Mogul Mowgli, which also won best music, while Ahmed The Long Goodbye won a short short film.
- Best British independent film – Rocks
- Best actress – Wunmi Mosaku, His House
- Best actor – Sir Anthony Hopkins, The Father
- Best supporting actress – Kosar Ali, Rocks
- Best supporting actor – D’Angelou Osei Kissiedu, Rocks
- Most promising newcomer – Kosar Ali, Rocks
- Best director – Remi Weekes, His House
- Best screenplay – Florian Zeller & Christopher Hampton, The Father
- Best documentary – The Reason I Jump
- Best international independent film – Nomadland