Peter Luisi’s Unlikely Heroes (Schweizer Helden) brings together the most Swiss of heroes, William Tell, with asylum seekers seeking to make Switzerland their new home.

The main charater, Sabine, (Esther Gemsch) is a recently separated housewife in her fifties who finds herself alone over the Christmas break and decides to stage a small performance of the story of William Tell with the people living at a shelter for asylum seekers.

Luisi, whose credits include Boys Are Us, Der Sandmann and Love Made Easy, lived in two different asylum homes for a week each to understand this community.

The cast includes some former asylum seekers. The director even thought about “casting some real asylum seekers but they have so many other problems it didn’t seem justifiable to put them in a film.”

He describes the film as a “drama with a lot of comedic relief.”

“Because asylum is such a hot topic, some people said to me, ‘How dare you tell a story about asylum seekers and include funny scenes?’ But in these homes surrounded by tragedy, these people laugh just as much or even harder. Life is a drama and a comedy at the same time

Unlikely Heroes screens at 21:30 on Aug 13 in Locarno’s Piazza Grande. M-Appeal is handling world sales on the film. Frenetic will release in Switzerland.