Australian/UK co-production Oranges and Sunshine and Aussie independent drama Little Sparrows have been picked up overseas.

Oranges and Sunshine, directed by first-time feature film director Jim Loach, has been acquired by distributor Cohen Media Group from Icon Entertainment for a North American run in the fall.

The deal was negotiated by Icon's Anthony Buckner and Cohen Media Group's Stephen Dembetzer.

The highly-emotional drama, starring Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham, tells the story of social worker Margaret Humphreys who discovered in the mid-80s that thousands of kids were deported from the UK to Australia against their will. Both prime ministers issued an apology to the "Forgotten Australians" during production of the film.

“We are thrilled to have acquired the film as part of our 2011 slate," Cohen Media Group CEO Charles S. Cohen said in a statement.

"Jim Loach guides the film with a sure hand and Emily Watson delivers a performance that will be remembered for years to come. We are also thrilled to have the experience and expertise of producers Camilla Bray, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman who have recently come off the success of Academy Award winner The King’s Speech.”

It will be released in Australia on June 9.

Local film Little Sparrows, which recently picked up an Outstanding Drama gong at the WA Screen Awards, has signed a UK distribution deal with Soda Pictures.

The deal, made through sales agent Urban (formerly Umedia), also includes the rights to UK public service broadcaster Channel 4.

Starring Nicola Bartlett in the leading role, the IF award-nominated film is about the strength of women, their capacity to shine forth, redefine themselves and be free. It is a story about secrets, loss, and the desire to love that we all share.

Little Sparrows continues to attract commercial interest on an international level and I believe it is the intimate portrayal of a family and their choices as individuals that resonates across cultures,” first-time feature director and producer Yu-Hsiu Camille Chen said in a statement.

It opens at Cinema Paradiso in Perth on May 5.

For more on Oranges and Sunshine, keep an eye on the IF website and the June/July issue.

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