Most people remember the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, which ended with a bloody siege at the city’s exclusive Taj Hotel. But what many may not realize is that some of the hotel staff deliberately put themselves at risk in order to protect the hotel’s residents, adding new poignancy to their mantra, “The guest is God.” It is this scenario that forms the basis of Hotel Mumbai, which stars Armie Hammer and Dev Patel as two men caught up in the violence from different worlds: Hammer plays a wealthy US tourist, Patel a struggling Indian waiter.

When he visited the Deadline studio, first-time director Anthony Maras described his film as a story of hope. “This is a story about a tremendous sacrifice that many people made in order to help their fellow man and woman,” he said. “I was just taken aback from the first time I ever heard of these tales—extraordinary tales of heroism and sacrifice that saw people coming together across all different sorts of divisions that would usually divide people, and they came together in a pretty incredible way to survive this onslaught.”

Though the film captures the horrors of the day’s events, the violence isn’t what interests Maras. “I didn’t know it at first,” he said, “but as we got further into the script, and then definitely into the making of the film, I began to see it as a bit of a microcosm of the wider world. And I think in this [dark] time, with everything that’s going on in the world [today], an example was set by the staff and the guests of the Taj by coming together to survive in the face of sheer adversity.”

Find out more about Hotel Mumbai by clicking on the link above.

Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 presented by eOne. Special thanks to sponsor Watford Group, and partners Calii LoveLove Child Social, and Barocco Coffee.