Sally El Hosaini’s drama The Swimmers, the true-life story of Syrian refugees-turned-Olympic athletes the Mardini sisters, will be the opening night film at the 18th Zurich International Film Festival.
The Swimmers, which will have its world premiere in Toronto, will have its European bow in Zurich on September 22. Sally El Hosaini together with the film’s stars Nathalie Issa and Matthias Schweighöfer and sisters Sara and Yusra Mardini will attend the Zurich premiere.
Produced by Working Title for Netflix, El Hosaini’s feature follows the Mardini sisters’ journey after they fled the civil war in Syria in 2015, trying to escape across the Aegean Sea to Europe. When the motor of the dinghy they were ridding on cut out, the sisters, both champion swimmers, helped save the other passengers. They went on to settle in Germany, where Yusra began training again. She competed at the 2016 Olympics as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.
“THE SWIMMERS is a deeply moving and timely film about a miraculous journey”, says Christian Jungen, Artistic Director. “It shihmed 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 Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner alongside Ali Jaafar and Tim Cole with Stephen Daldry executive producing. The film will be out on Netflix later this year.
The European premiere will take place on Thursday, September 22, at the 1200 seat Convention Center, with an additional public screening at the Corso cinema. The complete programme 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 noon local time.