Jim Loach film debut follows in father's footsteps
By Silvia Aloisi
ROME (Reuters) - Jim Loach made his debut as a film-maker in Rome Saturday, following in his father Ken's footsteps with the grim, real-life story of thousands of children deported from Britain to Australia until 1970.
"Oranges and Sunshine," presented at the Rome film festival, brings to the big screen a little-known dark chapter in British history -- the shipping of tens of thousands of poor children to former colonies where many suffered abuse.
The film follows the story of Margaret Humphreys, a Nottingham social worker who accidentally found herself uncovering the scandal and devoted her life to reuniting thousands of families and bringing authorities to account.
Loach, 41, said his father -- best known for his gritty, realist and disturbing portraits of working class Britain -- has had a strong influence on him even though as a child he had made an oath never to become a film-maker.
"I was lucky enough to be encouraged to have an inquisitive mind, to search stories and situations that are contradictory, dramatic and need to be told," he told reporters after a press screening.
"I hope this film shines a light on a story that has been pushed under the carpet for too long," he said. "But for us it's actually an uplifting story, it's the story of survivors, not victims," he said.
Between 1930 and 1970, some 130,000 children aged 3 to 14 were sent from British orphanages and shelters to Commonwealth countries, mainly Australia and Canada, under the Child Migrants Program -- an enforced settlement policy with the stated aim of giving them a better life. Continued...