Micheal Ward, recipient of this year's BAFTA Rising Star Award, has spoken out in defence of 2019 film Blue Story after it was pulled from two cinema chains.
Taking to the stage at this year's 2020 Film Awards, the Top Boy actor said that he “wouldn’t be here” without Blue Story, the tale of two friends who become rivals.
The film was pulled from Vue and Showcase cinemas following a disturbance that broke out at the Star City cinema in Birmingham back in November, when dozens of teenagers, some armed with machetes, clashed at the cinema.
Speaking backstage at the BAFTAs, Ward – who played Marco in the film – said: "I feel like our stories are so important as well because a lot of people don't know them, so I will continue to do stories like [Blue Story], that resonate with people."
He added: "I feel like now people are starting to understand a lot more about where people like me come from, so it's really special to be a part of that, for sure."
Ward also spoke to the criticism faced by BAFTA with regards the lack of diversity in this year's nominations, with no actors of colour in the acting categories, suggesting that things were "taking a step in the right direction".
"I feel like we're going in the right direction," he said. "I feel like a lot of people haven't realised there's a lot of opportunities – that's what I want them to know, especially with something like this, to show them there's a lot more opportunities for people like me. It's not like before."