Anthony Hopkins in One Life directed by James Hawes
Anthony Hopkins in One Life directed by James Hawes (See-Saw Films / Warner Bros. Pictures)

An incredible true story of bravery and heroism, One Life directed by James Hawes and starring Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Flynn, Lena Olin, Romola Garai, Alex Sharp, Marthe Keller, Jonathan Pryce and Helena Bonham Carter will make its European Premiere as the American Express Gala of the 67th BFI London Film Festival.

One Life tells the true story of Sir Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Winton, a young London broker played by Hopkins, who, in the months leading up to World War II, rescued 669 children from the Nazis. Nicky visited Prague in December 1938 and found families who had fled the rise of the Nazis in Germany and Austria, living in desperate conditions with little or no shelter and food, and under threat of Nazi invasion. He immediately realised it was a race against time. How many children could he and the team rescue before the borders closed?

Fifty years later, it’s 1988 and Nicky lives haunted by the fate of the children he wasn’t able to bring to safety in England; always blaming himself for not doing more. It’s not until a live BBC television show, ‘That’s Life’, surprises him by introducing him to some surviving children – now adults – that he finally begins to come to terms with the guilt and grief he had carried for five decades.

Director of One Life, James Hawes, said: “It is a huge honor to have One Life be a gala presentation. This film pretty much begins and ends in London and says so much about the people of this city, it heart and its history. So it feels right that we have our UK launch at the BFI London Film Festival.”

Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, See-Saw Films, said: “We are so excited to be presenting One Life at the 2023 BFI London Film Festival, in See-Saw’s 15th year. Every film we have premiered at the festival has been a special experience and an incredible moment for us and our filmmakers. We are also delighted that this will be our 4th American Express Gala after The King’s Speech, Lion, and The Power Of The Dog. It has been a privilege to tell Nicholas Winton’s story and portray his generosity of spirit. It means so much to us to be able to share James Hawes’s One Life at this year’s festival, with an audience that is so passionate about the power of film, coming together to celebrate the captivating stories that connect us all.”

Kristy Matheson, BFI London Film Festival Director, said: “James Hawes assured feature debut about the visionary British humanitarian, Sir Nicholas Winton is a sweeping drama full of nuance and rich emotion. The incredible cast led by Sir Anthony Hopkins brings this inspirational true-life story to the screen and not a minute too soon. In a world full of conflict and inequity One Life serves to remind contemporary audiences about the power of seemingly small personal acts in defense of human rights and dignity when all seems lost. “

One Life is being released by Warner Bros Pictures in UK cinemas from January 5, 2024

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