Garth Davis’ “Lion” will have pride of place at the 60th BFI London Film Festival, playing as the event’s centerpiece, the prestigious American Express Gala. The movie, which stars “Slumdog Millionaire” actor Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Oscar-nominated for “Carol,” and Nicole Kidman, was acquired by The Weinstein Company, and is being talked up by Harvey Weinstein as an awards contender.
The film, which also features a key performance from “Lord of the Rings” thesp David Wenham, makes its U.K. debut on Oct. 12 at London’s Odeon Leicester Square, with Patel and Kidman expected to be on the red carpet.
“Lion,” adapted from Saroo Brierley’s memoir “A Long Way Home,” “tells the true story of how a wrong train takes a five-year-old Indian boy hundreds of miles from home; he survives many challenges before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five 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,” according to a festival statement.
BFI London Film Festival director, Clare Stewart, said the film is “a rousing tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit, and is more intricate in its texture, and more astounding in its narrative twists than most works of fiction.”
“Lion” is produced by Emile Sherman and Iain Canning for See-Saw Films, and Angie Fielder for Aquarius Films, with backing Screen Australia and Sunstar Entertainment. It world premieres at the Toronto Film Festival.
The festival opens Oct. 5 with Amma Asante’s “A United Kingdom” and closes Oct. 16 with Ben Wheatley’s “Free Fire.” The full program will be announced on Sept. 1.