Nigerian-British director, Sarah Gavron and casting director Lucy Pardee spent a year searching for teen girls, mostly black and brown–first time actors–who could authentically portray their own lives. After running a series of workshops the number of candidates slowly whittled down to seven. At that point screenwriters Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson fashioned the script, collaborating with the girls who became active participants in the shaping of the film. The result is incredible: not a false note in the acting, a believable and moving story of resilience and friendship in spite of cultural differences. At times you will wonder if you are watching a documentary–it’s that convincing. I wouldn’t describe “Rocks” as a feel-good film–the filmmakers have a much more sophisticated sensibility. And while there are incredibly sad aspects to the struggles of the protagonist to protect her seven year old brother (also a marvelous first time actor) there is also hope grounded in reality. I love this movie and I hope you do too.