Friday 12 March 2021 -
19:30 to 21:00

The UK-Russia Creative Bridge Forum featured a public talk with Tricia Tuttle, Director of BFI London Film Festival, and Sarah Gavron, British film director. The conversation focused on industry insights, current trends in British cinema, and Sarah Gavron’s film “Rocks”.

Being the festival’s director of programming, Tricia Tuttle is dedicated to celebrating the diverse landscape of cinema, showcasing films set to entertain and inspire, provoke debate and tackle the urgent issues of our time like gender equality and women empowerment.

Best known for her film 2015’s period drama “Suffragette”, Sarah Gavron presented her latest film “Rocks” which tells a fictional story developed through workshops with teenage girls from east London. The film’s cast are largely non-professional actors making their screen debuts. Sarah Gavron shared stories from the set and talked about how to make a film with the actors rather than about them.

“Rocks'' is a British coming-of-age story rooted in realistic characters and anchored with a meaningful message. The story focuses on Rocks, a British-Nigerian teenager who lives in Hackney, East London. When her mum takes off, Rocks is left to look after her little brother – and fears they’ll be taken into care and separated if anyone finds out. As pressure mounts, she struggles to keep things together.

The discussion was moderated by Irina Izotova, founder of FemFest.

About the speakers

Tricia Tuttle is head of Festivals and Artistic Director of the BFI London Film Festival. Moving from North Carolina in 1997 to complete a joint MA at BFI and Birkbeck, University of London in Film and TV Studies, Tricia’s passion for film has seen her work as a programmer, lecturer, writer and journalist. Her career has spanned a five-year tenure at BAFTA, starting in 2008 and with her appointment as Film Programme Manager in 2011; programming the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (the pre-cursor to BFI Flare) and as Event Producer at London’s The Script Factory.

Tuttle’s appointment as Artistic Director BFI London Film Festival follows her role as interim Artistic Director in 2018 and five successful years as Deputy Head of Festivals at BFI, including BFI Flare and BFI London Film Festival.

Sarah Gavron is a British film director. Her first film was “This Little Life” (2003), later followed by “Brick Lane” (2007), “Village at the End of the World” (2012) and “Suffragette” (2015) that tells the story of the Suffragette movement in London of 1912. Her most recent film is “Rocks” which she directed in a creative collaboration with the team and young cast. “Rocks” took home five awards at the 2021 British Independent Film Awards, including Best British Independent Film.

About the film

Rocks (15) is a teenage girl with big dreams for the future, loyal fun friends and an adoring, though mischievous, little brother Emmanuel (7). Rocks enjoys school (as much as any teenager does) and lives a full vibrant life in East London with her team of London-centric female best friends. 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. A film about the joy, resilience and spirit of girlhood.