Stars Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman will be on hand for a discussion that will be moderated by former Newsweek editor Tina Brown and “Lost in Translation” director Sofia Coppola. “Lion” focuses on Saroo Brierley, a man who used Google Earth to reunite with his long-lost family in India. As a five-year-old boy, Brierley got lost on a train and had to survive on the streets of Calcutta before ultimately being adopted by an Australian family. “Lion” is the Weinstein Company’s big Oscar play this year, and the film is considered a leading contender for a best picture nomination. Patel and Kidman are widely expected to pick up supporting actor nods.
The indie studio and “Lion’s” producers have said that they hope the film will raise awareness about the 11 million-plus children who live on the streets of India. They’ve partnered with the Charity Network to launch #LionHeart, which will provide financial support to these children. UNICEF provides humanitarian aide to children and families in developing countries.
“‘Lion’ is relevant now more than ever at a time when nearly 50 million children are uprooted worldwide — displaced by circumstances beyond their control, and often traveling or migrating on their own,” said Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, in a statement. “Unaccompanied children are among the most vulnerable. They fall through the cracks and are at the highest risk of exploitation and abuse, including by smugglers and traffickers. They often have no documentation, and uncertain legal status. We’re thrilled that the Weinstein Company and ‘Lion’ are shining a light on these important issues as our UNICEF colleagues around the globe work tirelessly to ensure all children are protected, safe, and can have a childhood.”