Sally El Hosaini’s Drama the swimmersthe true story of Syrian refugees turned Olympic athletes, the Mardini sisters, will be the opening film of the 18th Zurich International Film Festival.
The Swimmers, which will have its world premiere in Toronto, will make its European bow in Zurich on September 22. Sally El Hosaini will attend the Zurich premiere with film stars Nathalie Issa and Matthias Schweighöfer and sisters Sara and Yusra Mardini.
El Hosaini’s feature film, produced by Working Title for Netflix, follows the journey of the Mardini sisters after they fled the civil war in Syria in 2015 and tried to escape across the Aegean Sea to Europe. When the engine of the dinghy they were driving broke down, the sisters, both swimming champions, helped to save the other passengers. They then settled in Germany, where Yusra began training again. She competed in the 2016 Olympics as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.
“THE SWIMMERS is a moving and topical film about a wonderful journey,” says Christian Jungen, Artistic Director. “It shocked Malek, James Krishna Floyd, Elmi Rashid Elmi, Kinda Alloush and Ali Suliman. Directed and written by Sally El Hosaini and co-written by multi award-winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne. Produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title alongside Ali Jaafar and Tim Cole with Executive Producer Stephen Daldry. The film will be released on Netflix later this year.
The European premiere will take place on Thursday, September 22 at the 1,200-seat convention center, with an additional public screening in the Corso cinema. The full program of the 18th Zurich Film Festival will be published on the website on Thursday, September 8 from 12 noon local time. Ticket sales will start on Monday, September 12, from 12:00 p.m. local time.