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‘Lion’ Producer on the Need to Capture the Authenticity of an Emotional True Story

"We wanted to be as truthful and emotionally honest as possible."

Recent feature film Lion tells the true story of Saroo Brierly, a man who lost his family as a young boy in India and was eventually adopted by parents in Tasmania. To tell the story, the filmmakers spend the first 45 minutes of the film following the 5-year-old Saroo in a harrowing, nearly dialogue-less sequence as he loses his older brother on the crowded streets of Calcutta while panhandling.

“What we wanted to do from the first moment we were trusted with the material from Saroo was to be as authentic as possible to that journey,” producer Iain Canning tells The Moveable Fest. “It’s sort of a manipulation as [screenwriter Luke Davies] describes it [in other interviews] – to say here’s a person in their twenties [at the start]. We didn’t want the audience to feel like they’re starting the story behind the character. That’s what [producer Emile Sherman] and I grabbed onto when Luke was describing it – we wanted them to be right at the center of Saroo’s experience from when he was five years old on and we didn’t want to play any tricks on the audience. If we would’ve started with him as an older character, we would’ve been playing some dramatic games with the audience and the character and we wanted to be as truthful and emotionally honest as possible, so it always made sense then to start with the boy getting lost.”

Read the full story here.