Welsh-Egyptian Filmmaker Sally El Hosaini has begun directing The Swimmers, a feature film produced by Netflix and Working Title about Syrian refugee sisters Yusra and Sarah Mardini.
The Swimmers follows the story of Yusra and Sarah and retells their journey after fleeing Syria in 2015 during the Syrian Civil War. Going through Lebanon and Turkey, the sisters were supposed to take a dinghy to Greece via dinghy, but the motor of the overcrowded vessel broke in the midst of the Aegean Sea.
Yusra, Sarah and two others swam for three and a half hours to stop their dinghy from capsizing, saving the lives of 20 people.
The two sisters became renowned for their heroism. In 2016, Yusra was selected to compete as part of the first Refugee Olympic Team in Rio. She currently lives in Berlin.
The Swimmers‘ script was co-written by El Hosaini and Jack Thorne, and has begun production this week in the UK, with production in Belgium and Turkey to follow. The Swimmers is set for a worldwide Netflix release in 2022, according to Variety.
Egyptian Actor Ahmed Malek, known for his roles in Exterior/Night and Sheikh Jackson, is set to star in the film alongside Lebanese actresses Manal and Nathalie Issa as Yusra and Sarah Mardini. The cast also includes Ali Suliman, Kinda Alloush, Elmi Rashid Elmi, James Krishna Floyd, and Matthias Schweighöfer.
El Hosaini is known for directing My Brother the Devil, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where it received the World Cinema Cinematography: Dramatic prize.