The BFI London Film Festival will unveil its full official lineup September 1 but has steadily been letting slip details of the upcoming 60th edition. Today, the fest has added Lion, the Weinstein Co/See-Saw Films drama directed by Garth Davis, as the American Express Gala. Lion will have its UK premiere October 12; it screens in Toronto prior to that. With an eye to awards season, the pic based on Saroo Brierley’s touching memoir has an Oscar-friendly late-November release date. Academy members number more than 500 in the UK and this is a chance to get the film front and center for them (as well as the BAFTA contingent) well ahead of time.
Based on Brierley’s A Long Way Home, Lion tells the true story of how a wrong train takes a 5-year-old Indian boy hundreds of miles from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. But 25 years later, haunted by memories of his childhood, he learns of a new technology called Google Earth, and sets out to find his lost family.
Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman star in the film. Patel and Kidman are expected to attend the London screening. Patel says, “Lion is in essence a story about mothers and sons and it’s a real honor for me to be in London among so many of my colleagues, friends and family to share this triumphant, immersive and visually breathtaking story.”
Lion is a Weinstein Co presentation in association with Screen Australia, a See-Saw Films Production in association with Aquarius Films and Sunstar Entertainment. Producers are Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder. Executive producers are Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser, Andrew Fraser, Shahen Mekertichian and Daniel Levin.
The London Film Fest runs from October 5-16, opening with Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom and closing with Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire.