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King's Speech producers grab autobiography

The true story of how a poor five-year-old Indian boy was separated from his mother, adopted by an Australian family, then found her 25 years later, is to be made into a film by See-Saw Films producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning.

Little Boy Lost will be based on Saroo Brierley’s autobiography, soon to be published by Penguin. Brierley, now in his early 30s, made headlines when the story broke last year.

While it’s early days for the film, the modern-day nature of the tale – Brierley used Google Earth, intelligence, memory and social media to track down his birth mum – and the previous success of the production team augurs well: Sydney-based Sherman and London-based Canning produced 2011 best film Oscar winner The King’s Speech.

For full production information

The See-Saw pair were also executive producers on Garth Davis and Jane Campion’s six-part television series, Top Of The Lake, which screens at Berlin this weekend.  New Zealander Philippa Campbell was the producer.

“As a filmmaker, Saroo’s life story is irresistible,” said Sherman and Canning. “The moment we heard it, we knew it had all the elements that make for great cinema. There is perhaps no greater human drive than the desire to find out who we are and to know our mothers. This, along with the incredible contrast between our high tech world and the streets of Calcutta, make for an unforgettable story.”

Andrew Fraser and Shahen Mekertichian, two of the principals behind the relatively new film, television and talent company Sunstar Entertainment, which represents Brierley, will act as executive producers on Little Boy Lost. Fraser described it as a “milestone” for the company to be working with See-Saw.

Sunstar has a number of projects in development including True Spirit, which tells the true story of how Australia’s Jessica Watson spent seven months sailing alone and unassisted around the world when she was just 16 years of age. Paramount is handling Australian distribution.

Also on the slate is a big screen exploration of how and why Australia’s David Hick was detained for five and a half years in Guantanamo Bay.

See-Saw is currently in post-production on another true story, Tracks, directed by John Curran and starring Mia Wasikowska. It tells of Robyn Davidson’s solo trek across 1700 miles of desert from central Australia to the west coast.

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