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#LAKSHMI: Emma Thompson-produced Child Trafficking drama to open LIFF 2014

A hard-hitting drama about child trafficking, set in India, produced by Academy Award winner Emma Thompson and starring X-Files star Gillian Anderson, is set to open the 2014 edition of the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), organizers announced Wednesday.

‘Sold’ – adapted from the award-winning novel of the same name by Patricia McCormick and inspired by real-life events – is directed by Jeffrey D. Brown (‘The Wonder Years’, ‘Molly’s Pilgrim’) and tells the story of ‘Lakshmi’, a young girl from Nepal who is sold into sexual slavery in India.

Anderson plays an American photographer who attempts to rescue Lakshmi.

Aside from Anderson, ‘Sold’ features a stellar cast of American and Indian actors including David Arquette – star of the ‘Scream’ spoof horror series – and National Award-winning ‘Bandit Queen’ actress Seema Biswas.

Oscar and BAFTA-winning actress and producer Thompson reportedly pulled a “Brad Pitt” with ‘Sold’, i.e. throwing her not-inconsiderable clout within the industry in getting the film financed and produced, much like Pitt had done with the recent ’12 Years A Slave’. 

Speaking ahead of the North American premier of ‘Sold’ at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in March, Thompson said: “Because of ‘Sold’s’ marvelous script and courageous and brilliant cast it is a story that we can ALL watch – so that we may understand the processes of slavery in modern India and feel able to act without feeling the kind of rage and hopelessness that gets in the way of doing anything.”

The actress added she was thrilled that the film would have its European Premiere at LIFF, now the largest showcase for independent South Asian cinema in Europe.

“It is wonderful to have our film premiered at the London Indian Film Festival, to raise awareness of child-trafficking, which is an issue close to my heart and is shockingly on the increase world-wide. 

“We hope that this film will make people think and highlight the support for key charities such as The Helen Bamber Foundation and others working in this difficult area in India, Nepal and elsewhere”

Retaining ‘Sold’ as the opening night feature is a major coup for LIFF which has continued to grow at a remarkable pace in the five years since its inception.

“We are delighted that the festival is growing from strength to strength and that we have ‘Sold’ for our opening night.  It is a film which is remarkable on many fronts not least its riveting script and direction, but also gripping performances by Indian and US actors especially lead actor Niyar Saikia who brings so much power and heartfelt pathos to the role as the resilient young girl protagonist Lakshmi”, said Festival director Cary Sawhney.

The London Indian Film Festival runs 10 – 17 July.  For more information, visit www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk.

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