This 12 months’s version of the Toronto Worldwide Movie Competition will kick off with Sally El Hosaini’s depiction of Olympian Yusra Mardini and her sister Sara’s heroic swim from war-torn Syria to Greece. “The Swimmers” will display as TIFF’s Opening Evening Gala Presentation September 8 at Roy Thomson Corridor, a press launch introduced.
The movie is predicated on the true story of the Mardini sisters, who, in 2015, saved themselves and the opposite refugees on their dinghy by leaping into the freezing Aegean Sea and swimming the boat to security. The Mardinis, each aggressive swimmers, had fled Syria and have been en path to the Greek island of Lesbos when the dinghy started to sink. The sisters finally settled in Berlin, the place Yusra met a swimming coach who educated her for the Olympics’ inaugural Crew Refugee. Her story got here to mild when she swam on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and received her qualifying warmth.
El Hosaini wrote “The Swimmers” with Jack Thorne (“His Darkish Supplies”), and Netflix is the distributor. Actual-life sisters Manal Issa (“Reminiscence Field”) and Nathalie Issa (“My Favourite Cloth”) star as Sara and Yusra, respectively.
“I used to be deeply moved by the story of those two sisters and wowed by the storytelling,” TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey acknowledged. “’The Swimmers’ was the easiest sort of shock once we noticed it this summer time — an thrilling, epic journey and the arrival of an vital filmmaker. I’m thrilled that audiences in Toronto would be the first to find Sally El Hosaini’s outstanding movie, and that this 12 months on our Opening Evening we will honor everybody who dangers every part to achieve a greater, safer life.”
“I’m ecstatic. What an honor and privilege to open TIFF with the inspirational true-life story of the Mardini sisters,” El Hosaini mentioned. “A metropolis as multicultural and numerous as Toronto is the right place to debut our movie that elevates the visibility and voice of refugees, reminding us that the human capability to outlive is stronger than most of us know.”
El Hosaini acquired Berlinale’s Label Europa Cinemas prize and London Movie Competition’s Finest British Newcomer award for her characteristic debut, “My Brother the Satan,” a drama about British Arab brothers rising up in gangland London. She has additionally helmed three episodes of “Babylon.”
TIFF will happen September 8-18. Different premieres on our radar embody Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Lady King,” Sanaa Lathan’s characteristic directorial debut, “On the Come Up,” and Lena Dunham’s “Catherine Referred to as Birdy.”