Samira Mohamed Ali celebrates win at film festival
Rising movie star Samira Mohamed Ali is celebrating seeing her first British feature scoop a prestigious film festival award.
The Swansea-based actress stars in Molly Crows, a supernatural feature film made by a relatively unknown British director.
The film won Best Drama at London’s Portobello Film Festival when it was screened for its UK premiere.
The movie also received praise when it had its world premiere in the Cannes Festival earlier this year.
“To scoop the main prize at the Portobello Film Festival was wonderful,” said 28-year-old Samira.
“There’s a very young team behind Molly Crows. Making the film was a great experience and for most of us it was a first taste of making a ‘Made in Britain’ feature length film.
“We had a wonderful director in Ray Andrew Wilkes, who will surely be making a name for himself as a director to watch.”
Molly Crows is the story of a troubled seven-year-old girl, Jess, who summons the spirit of a witch.
The film played to a packed venue at Portobello.
The film was given top billing at a special horror event and the 350-seat cinema was standing-room only for the Molly Crows debut screening.
Part of the movie’s appeal is that it is based on a true story.
Co-star George Newton said: “I wasn’t surprised when the movie won an award, because when I was on set I had a really good feeling about the story. It’s based on truth and put together in an imaginative way.”
Director Wilkes said: “Samira Mohamed Ali plays the part of Jess's mother in the movie, a crucial role as everything pivots around these two characters.
“Sam's a glamorous actress who had to play the part of a down and out alcoholic with a short fuse who fights with the locals. She was parachuted in last minute as well (we had to recast). Sam's been on TV shows and was recently cast in the new Dr Who film. Get ready for some fireworks!”
The buzz around Molly Crows has been fuelled by a strong social media campaign, with a You Tube trailer of the film getting thousands of hits.
Sunday People film critic Chris Hunneysett was one of the first film critics to spot the trailer.
He told his readers – “How do you make £400 look like $30million? Have a gander on YouTube at the excellent trailer for supernatural thriller Molly Crows!”
The 90 minute film was shot in the Midlands over the course of a year.
The movie stars seven-year-old newcomer Mercy Gaiger alongside This Is England/Dead Man’s Shoes actor Newton, supported by Samira, Miles Rodziewicz and Layla Randle-Conde.
A cast of more than 80 actors and background artists were managed by a core crew of three, the director/Director of Photography and cousins Phil Sykes and Randle-Conde.
This was the first feature film for all of them.
Wilkes added: “Before the film was even made I asked the horror fans what they wanted and tried my hardest to give it to them. They wanted a proper story, three-dimensional characters, depth and meaning, so I wove all of those elements into the story for them. They have repaid me by sharing and supporting the film, and turning up in the rain to see it.
“I don’t know most of these people. I might not ever meet them again. But they supported the film, and the award was the cherry on the cake.”
Wilkes described Samira in Molly Crows as “a phenomenal actress who brought a depth and fragility to the role that I didn’t know existed.”
Randle-Conde said: “We’re delighted to win Best Drama. There¹s a perception that supernatural films are less heavyweight than straight dramas. This is based on the true story of a woman accused of Witchcraft, and the themes in the film are as dark as you can get in a small town - bullying, sexual abuse, alcoholism and murder. It absolutely is a drama, and we’re very happy that’s been recognized by Portobello.”
About Samira Mohamed Ali
- Samira Mohamed Ali is an aspiring young actress of mixed Dubai and Portuguese parentage who is having an inspirational effect on her adopted country of Wales.
- Samira currently lives in Swansea, the birthplace of Hollywood Actress Catherine Zeta Jones. She is tipped by film critics to be one of the big emerging stars of 2014.
- More major roles are to follow for Samira, including a lead role in both a Hollywood-produced “Doctor Who” movie in 2013 and an MMA action franchise movie and two other Bollywood feature films in 2014.
- Samira will play the lead role in the Bollywood film “Badshah” due to be released early 2014
- Samira will play one of the lead roles in “Dr Who” movie as the Queen of Gallifrey
- Samira started as a brands model working with many international companies and commercial campaigns across UK, Dubai, Portugal, Spain, France and Bahamas. She has also won beauty titles such as Miss Europe and has reached top 10 in the World Supermodel competition in 2012.
Twitter - @OfficialSamira
Samira at Portobello.
Samira at Portobello with Tony Rotherham, who plays the Witchfinder/hangman in Molly Crows.
Samira at Portobello with John Healey and Miles Rodziewicz, who plays DC Wells.
Samira Mohamed Ali and Mercy Gaiger