Ahead of the release of ROCKS in cinemas across the UK and Ireland this Friday 18 September Raising Films spoke to the creative team behind the film, with the interview conducted by Grace Barber Plentie.
We’re so grateful to Grace and the ROCKS team for finding the time to take part in this interview. Scroll down to access the filmed interview and in the meantime, here’s more about the film!
ROCKS is a film about the resilience, joy and spirit of girlhood. Uniquely crafted by a majority female creative team in collaboration with mostly first-time actors. ROCKS was written by Theresa Ikoko (winner of the Alfred Fagon award in 2015 for her play Girls) and Claire Wilson (Little Drummer Girl, Gangs of London, The Power), and directed by Sarah Gavron (Suffragette, Brick Lane) and associate director Anu Henriques. Produced by Faye Ward (Wild Rose, Stan & Ollie) and Ameenah Ayub Allen (Dark River, Ali and Ava), with casting by Lucy Pardee and associate Jessica Straker.
Starring Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D’angelou Osei Kissiedu, Shaneigha-Monik Greyson, Ruby Stokes, Tawheda Begum, Anastasia Dymitrow, Afi Okaidja and Sarah Niles.
The film follows teenager Rocks (Bakray) who fears that she and her little brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu) will be forced apart if anyone finds out they are living alone. Rocks’ world is turned upside down when she returns from school to find her mum gone, having left some cash and a note offering little explanation except that she is sorry. Determined to stick with her brother and avoid being taken into care against all odds, Rocks leaves her home and hides in pockets of East London. As each day becomes tougher and her secret harder to hide, Rocks starts to push away those who love her and her friendship group begins to fracture. When the authorities finally catch up with her, there is really only one source of support for her to turn to: her friends. With the help of her friends, she evades the authorities and navigates the most defining days of her life.
“As a team, we have always felt passionate about the film’s collaborative nature being acknowledged and credited by all who write about it. The film’s story was authored by Theresa Ikoko, a young British Nigerian woman who co-wrote the script with Claire Wilson. In a unique process, our two writers, the young cast and many of the creative team collaborated on the making of ROCKS right from the outset and through to its completion. At a time when it has become unavoidably clearer that creatives of colour have been, and are, so often unacknowledged, this feels even more important now. As you can see from our synopsis for ROCKS, we speak of the collaboration rather than just referring solely to one director’s vision and attribute the way the film was made to that team endeavour. These are elements which we feel must come through in all that is written about the film, to do justice to the unique way it was made and the people who made it. We are grateful for all the support Rocks has received – thank you for reading this.” The ROCKS team
Grace Barber Plentie is a London-based freelance film writer and programmer with a focus on the works of Black women directors, representations of the fat body and, wherever possible, the oeuvre of Barbra Streisand.
Grace appears top left in the interview with Theresa Ikoko (story & writer) centre top, Sarah Gavron (director) top right. Bottom left is Claire Wilson (writer) and bottom right Anu Henriques (associate director).