Lions Gate Releasing has acquired US theatrical distribution rights to Stephen Frears' drama Liam, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year. Starring Ian Hart, Claire Hackett, Anne Reid and introducing Anthony Burrows, the film is set in the Irish Catholic quarter of Liverpool in the 1930s and examines the fall into poverty of a family through the eyes of the seven year-old son Liam.

The deal was struck between Lions Gate Releasing co-president Tom Ortenberg and Alison Thompson when she was still at The Sales Company.

Liam will be released during the summer by Lions Gate; it joins a 2001 lineup which includes Tom DiCillo's Double Whammy, Richard Linklater's Tape, Patrice Leconte's The Widow Of St Pierre, James Ivory's The Golden Bowl and Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight Of Water.