The 2022 Toronto International Film Festival lineup is coming further into focus, with the Opening Night selection now revealed.
Netflix and Working Title film “The Swimmers” is confirmed to open the 2022 festival on Thursday, September 8. “The Swimmers” follows the journey from war-torn Syria to the 2016 Rio Olympics of two elite swimmers who are sisters and is written and directed by Sally El Hosaini and co-written by multi-award-winner Jack Thorne.
“I was deeply moved by the story of these two sisters and wowed by the storytelling,” TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in a press statement. “‘The Swimmers’ was the very best kind of surprise when we saw it this summer — an exciting, epic journey and the arrival of an important filmmaker. I’m thrilled that audiences in Toronto will be the first to discover Sally El Hosaini’s remarkable film, and that this year on our Opening Night we can honor everyone who risks everything to reach a better, safer life.”
Writer-director El Hosaini shared, “I’m ecstatic. What an honor and privilege to open TIFF with the inspirational true-life story of the Mardini sisters. A city as multicultural and diverse as Toronto is the perfect place to debut our film that elevates the visibility and voice of refugees, reminding us that the human capacity to survive is stronger than most of us know.”
Based on a true story, “The Swimmers” centers on two young sisters who embark on a harrowing journey as refugees, putting both their hearts and champion swimming skills to heroic use for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The cast includes Manal Issa, Nathalie Issa, Ahmed Malek, Matthias Schweighöfer, Ali Suliman, Kinda Alloush, James Krishna Floyd, and Elmi Rashid Elmi.
“The Swimmers” is produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner alongside Ali Jaafar and Tim Cole with Stephen Daldry executive producing.
The film will premiere at the Opening Night Gala for the 47th Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall.
The TIFF lineup also includes Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical drama “The Fabelmans,” Lena Dunham’s coming-of-age comedy “Catherine Called Birdy,” Harry Styles’ star vehicle “My Policeman,” Viola Davis in period drama “The Woman King,” and Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” sequel, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”