24 October 2019

Competition Winner and MA Directing student reports back on Sarah Gavron’s ‘Rocks’

By Danny Kelly | Categorised in Met Competitions, Movie reviews, Cinema news, Film News, News, Film Festival Diary, Student Stories, Student Interviews

We’re big fans of Sarah Gavron (Suffragette, Brick Lane) here at MetFilm School. She’s been in to see our students for a special Masterclass as well as being the judge on the Creative Excellence category at our 2017 Smart Screen Creative Awards. So to celebrate the upcoming release of her latest release Rocks, we gave away five tickets to the BFI Future Film screening of the film, followed by a special Q&A and workshops, at this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

Entries were open to 18-25yr olds only and all they had to do was email telling us the title of the Director’s previous film that premiered at the Festival back in 2015.


Directed by Sarah Gavron
Written by Theresa Ikoko & Claire Wilson
UK Release April 2020
Rox is a popular teenager with big dreams for the future, brilliant friends and an adoring little brother Emmanuel. But her world is turned upside down when her mother suddenly leaves. Determined to stick with her brother and avoid being taken into care against all odds, Rox leaves her home and hides around London with the help of her loyal – or maybe not so loyal – friends. A film about the resilience and spirit of girlhood – Film4

A huge thanks to one of our competition winners, Susannah Farrugia, who has just started on our MA Directing course, who was kind enough to tell us all about the Q&A screening of this important new film.

Here is Susannah’s report on how the day went…

Sarah Gavron’s groundbreaking coming-of-age tale follows title character Rocks’ sudden entrance into the harsh realm of adulthood after her mother abruptly disappears to go on a mental health ‘break’. Forced to become an acting mother to her little brother, Rocks’ personal and social life becomes upturned.

Thanks to MetFilm School and BFI Future Film, I was able to attend an advanced Q&A screening of this tour-de-force drama that explores female friendships and the difficulties children face, as well as participate in a workshop headed by its writers Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson, who invited us to reimagine the film’s ending and pitch it to them.

In one of the largest Q&A panels the London Film Festival has had, the stage was full of diverse women; both cast and crew. As Gavron said, they made it a point to hire as many females as possible so that the first-time teen actresses felt comfortable and inspired by the film industry, rather than intimidated.

The whole production process of the film was informed by the street-cast actresses who were picked out of hundreds from schools and “rose like flowers” out of the rest of the girls they invited to workshops. As a hopeful filmmaker, I too was particularly inspired by this amazing, supportive group of women. Multiple members of the audience rose up to applaud the team for the film’s accurate representation of women from diverse backgrounds living in London today, and all had said they were shaken during the film as they had never before experienced the feeling of such strong identification with characters, which comes with representation. As a person who also knows what it feels like to never see someone like themselves on screen, I knew how important this film is to women from a range of communities and I am supremely grateful for this experience.

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