Good Causes

How a filmmaker turned schoolgirls into stars

When filmmaker Sarah Gavron (Suffragette, Brick Lane) set out to make Rocks, a movie about teenage girls living in London, she was determined to use ordinary young women rather than trained actors. As well as the authenticity of casting East London youths, Gavron wanted her ensemble to “believe they could be the filmmakers of the future”.

The gamble paid off. Rocks, a 2019 release backed by the BFI using funds from The National Lottery, was described as a “gem of a movie” in a 5-star review in The Guardian.

Gavron says every effort was made to help the young cast deliver authentic performances. She said, “We wanted the scenes to flow and we wanted to keep the energy up. Shooting in real locations made [the cast] feel at ease and we found a team that had backgrounds as close to the kids as possible.”

Anuradha Henriques, associate director of Rocks, said the BFI’s support is vital to maintaining “our independent film culture”. She added, “We hope they are able to continue to fund storytellers who are at the centre of their own story.”

The National Lottery has funded more than 625,000 good causes across the UK. This video series introduces you to fascinating people involved with just 5 of them, and asks them to share some tips, techniques and secrets. As well as learning how to film real people, you’ll find out how to steady your nerves from a comedian. You’ll learn how to build strength from a trapeze artist, a counsellor has some advice on how to maintain wellbeing and a stargazer tells you how to find the North Star (no telescope required!).

Check out Sarah and Anuradha’s video below.

How to direct real people with the film 'Rocks'

1st March 2021

The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners and supporting good causes across the UK since 1994. In that time, there have been more than 7,200 new millionaires created and by playing The National Lottery you raise over £4 million for Good Causes every dayΔ.

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