A film that cast unknown east London schoolgirls in most of its main roles has been honoured with five prizes at the British Independent Film Awards.
Rocks won best British independent film, and one of its stars, Kosar Ali, 17, was named both best supporting actress and most promising newcomer.
Rocks got glowing reviews when it came out last year and is now on Netflix.
Its other winners included D’Angelou Osei Kissiedu, who was just seven when he played little 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.To find the young stars of Rocks, director Sarah Gavron and casting director Lucy Pardee auditioned about 1,300 students, most of whom had no acting experience. The chosen cast then improvised much of the film’s dialogue.
After Thursday’s virtual awards ceremony, Ali, who plays Rocks’ best friend Sumaya, told the PA news agency 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.”