Jim Loach has said he felt compelled to make his first feature film about the deportation of thousands of children from Britain to Australia.
The son of Ken Loach said he felt the true story needed to be told.
"The story itself was shocking and appalling and amazing," Jim said at the Rome Film Festival, where the movie – Oranges And Sunshine – was presented.
He added: "We couldn’t believe that it had happened and we were amazed that so little had been said about it."
In the movie, the story is told through the eyes of social worker Margaret Humphreys, played by Emily Watson. Humphreys discovers hundreds of cases, hearing about the horrific abuse and hardship the children, now adults, lived through. She travels to Australia and confronts authorities, at the detriment of her own personal life and health.
"She was battling to overcome the odds," said Jim. "For us it was a survivor’s story. It was about the human spirit."
Emily told reporters in Rome this week that, as she was reading the script, she became "emotionally involved by the end of page 2".
Jim met with Humphreys, who’s written a book about the case, and with several former child migrants. As he heard about their "utterly compelling and shocking" stories, he started combining different aspects of their personalities to form the characters in the movie.
He said his father has watched Oranges And Sunshine and liked it. He also helped with the script and in the cutting room.
Speaking of his father’s influence, Jim said that growing up he was always encouraged to have an inquisitive mind and search out stories, especially ones "that were inherently contradictory and dramatic and important to be told".