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Sunderland actress lands role in film charting teenage lives in the North East

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AN aspiring actress from Sunderland appears in a new film charting one night in the life of a group of North East teenagers.

Drunken Butterflies follows the high and lows of five friends as they navigate Newcastle’s nightlife.

One of the gang, Isla, is played by student Amanda Hodgson, of Ashbrooke.

The 19-year-old has had a passion for theatre since she was a youngster and took part in Sunderland’s Empire annual summer school.

Now studying English language and literature at Edinburgh University, she hopes to eventually go to drama school.

“It is the first time I have done anything and the first time I have done any professional work,” she said.

“I did the stage experience at the Empire and went to Stagecoach stage school at Sunderland High School.

“I wanted to go to uni to get a bit of a grounding and grow a bit more as a person. Because I wasn’t in Newcastle, I hadn’t heard about Drunken Butterflies, but one of my friends told me about it.” Former Argyle House student Amanda sailed through an audition and was asked to play the role of shy romantic Isla.

Amanda said: “She is younger than me, about 17, and she is creative and imaginative, and I think her problem is that she gets caught up in her imagination.”

The other stars of the show are Leanne Rutter, 19, of Seahouses in Northumberland, Yasmine Ati, 19, Kate Knight, 21, Lucy Kelly, a 17-year-old student, all from Newcastle, and Katie Quinn, a 21-year-old from Hartlepool.

Shot entirely in the North East, the scripted reality film was premiered at the London Independent Film Festival, and the 19-year-old hopes it will eventually be screened in her home city. Amanda, whose parents David and Lynda are yet to see the film, has rejected claims Drunken Butterflies will paint the region in a bad light, despite critics comparing it with controversial reality TV show Geordie Shore.

She said: “I think if you can see it, go and see it, because it is not just about drinking in that sense.”

“I think it is an easy comparison to make,” she added.

Director Garry Sykes praised the young actress as an up-and-coming talent. He said: “The role of Isla was originally intended to be a little darker than it turned out, but when we met Amanda, who was actually auditioning for the role of Chloe, we knew we had to cast her in the part. She made it her own. She’s a living ball of energy, like no one I’ve ever met before, and she has an incredible, unique presence on screen, owning the camera whenever she’s in front of it.

“She’s also hilarious, on and off camera, and helped make coming to the set every day a total joy. She’s definitely a talent to watch.”

 

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