14 MAY 2009

When former 'care' kid Samantha Morton presented her semi-autobiographical project The Unloved in London on Wednesday she received plenty of support from famous pals.

Rhys Ifans, with whom the actress starred in Enduring Love, had a warm hug for the mum-of-two at the Covent Garden cinema where it was screened. While hot young couple Jaime Winstone and Alfie Allen, along with English artist Tracey Emin, were also lending their support to the 31-year-old's directorial debut.

The Unloved, which airs on Channel 4 on Sunday, is the tale of an 11-year-old girl growing up in a children's home.

Samantha – who spent her own childhood in care and foster homes – didn't have to look far to find her lead, casting a member of a local youth drama group, Molly Windsor, in the challenging role.

"I wanted to make a film – and I've been wanting to do this for 16 years – about life in care and bring it to the public's attention," explained Samantha, "because I've never seen anything which said: 'This is how it feels to be a kid in care'."

"Along the way, I also hope it will help the kind of kids who are in care now," she added. "I genuinely hope The Unloved will make a difference."

Photo: Getty Images
Samantha, who spent her own childhood between care and foster homes, gets a warm greeting from pal Rhys at the premiere screening of the semi-autobiographical Channel 4 drama
Photo: Rex
Also turning out to catch the actress' directorial debut were Ray Winstone's daughter Jamie and her boyfriend Alfie, who's Lily Allen's younger brother