The Swimmers opened the 47th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), marking the international premiere of the film.
The film is directed and written by Sally El Hosaini, co-written by multi-award-winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne, and features a cast of well-known Arab and international actors, such as Lebanese sisters Manal and Nathalie Issa playing sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini; Egyptian actor Ahmed Malek; Syrian actress Kinda Alloush; as well as Matthias Schweighöfer (Germany); Ali Suleiman (Palestine), and James Krishna Floyd (UK).
According to Reuters, the film is "a dramatisation of a true story of two sisters who fled their home and endured a harrowing journey before rebuilding their lives and, for one of them, making it to the Olympics."
"Sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini, played by real-life sisters Nathalie Issa and Manal Issa, fled Syria's war-torn capital Damascus to seek a new life in Europe. They crossed into Lebanon and Turkey and braved an often lethal crossing for migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, helping to get their over-crowded dinghy to shore."
"They made it to Greece and continued to Germany. Yusra Mardini was selected to compete for the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and competed again in 2020. Her sister Sara, meanwhile, became active helping refugees," Reuters added.
Her debut feature film My Brother the Devil (2012) won international awards, including at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, 2012 BFI London Film Festival Awards, and the 2013 Evening Standard Film Awards.
El-Hosaini's short films include The Fifth Bowl (2008), Henna Night (2009), and Green Zone (2010).
She directed three episodes in the TV mini series Babylon (2014), among other works as a director, screenwriter, actress, and producer.
The 44th Cairo International Film Festival will run between 13 and 22 November 2022. The festival's president is Hussein Fahmy with artistic director Amir Ramses.