Working Title, Stephen Daldry Reteam for Story of Syrian Refugee-Turned-Olympian

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Syrian refugee and Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini

Yusra Mardini made headlines when she swam for three hours across the Aegean to save her boat of refugees, later becoming a competitor at the 2016 Olympic games.

Working Title and director Stephen Daldry, who worked together to great acclaim on Billy Elliot and Trash, are to re-team for a third time.

The production powerhouse has picked up the rights to the true life story of Syrian Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini, who made headlines when, together with her sister, she swam for three hours across the Aegean sea when her boat filled with other refugees began to sink. After making the perilous journey and saving the occupants, she settled in Berlin, meeting a local swimming coach. 

As a competitor in the first Team Refugee group at the 2016 Olympics, Mardini won her qualifying heat, and has since become an ambassador for refugees and met with world leaders, also giving speeches at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

Daldry will direct the feature adaptation, with Working Title Films' co-chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner producing alongside Ali Jaafar. 

"It’s rare to find a story whose truth makes it emotionally more powerful than fiction can ever be," said Fellner. "The physical, spiritual and geographical journey that Yusra and Sara undertook is quite unbelievable. Through the power of film, we feel privileged and enthused to share such an incredible and important story about how lives can be changed through dreams, ambition and desire."