James Hawes’s drama One Life, starring Anthony Hopkins as Holocaust rescue hero Nicholas Winton, will make its European debut at the London Film Festival in October as part of its gala program, following the film’s TIFF world premiere.

The picture’s starry cast also features Johnny Flynn, Lena Olin, Romola Garai, Alex Sharp, Marthe Keller, Jonathan Pryce and Helena Bonham Carter.

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The film tells the true story of Sir Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Winton, who, as a young London broker, rescued 669 children from the Nazis in the months leading up to World War Two.

Winton 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.

In a race against time, he acted to get as many children out as possible before the borders closed, but would remain haunted and wracked with guilt over the fate of those he was unable to save.

In 1988, Winton was invited to the BBC’s TV show That’s Life, where to his surprise, the audience was revealed to be made-up entirely of adults he helped save as children. Only then, was he finally able to come to terms with the guilt and grief he had carried for five decades.

Produced by See-Saw Films who developed the film alongside BBC Film, One Life was made with the support of BBC Film.

“It is a huge honour 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, its heart and its history. So it feels right that we have our UK launch at the BFI London Film Festival,” said Black Mirror director Hawes.

One Life is the fourth See-Saw production to play in the Gala program, after The King’s Speech, Lion, and The Power Of The Dog.

“Every film we have premiered at the festival has been a special experience and an incredible moment for us and our filmmakers,” said See-Saw Films co-heads Iain Canning and Emile Sherman.

“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.”

Festival Director Kristy Matheson said of the film: “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 defence of human rights and dignity when all seems lost.”

One Life is due to be released by Warner Bros Pictures in UK cinemas from 5 January 2024.

The London Film Festival runs October 4-15.

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