At age 15, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for asserting that girls should be educated. But not only did the bullet fail to silence her, it gave her a more powerful voice than ever before. I mean, who has not heard about her by now?
Malala Yousafzai’s story, which begins in Pakistan’s green Swat Valley and culminates in her becoming the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, has inspired Hollywood. Now, at 18, she’s the subject of a new documentary by acclaimed director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman). They named it “He Named Me Malala”.
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The film about the teen targeted by the Taliban initially was supposed to be a Hollywood-style feature based on her book, I Am Malala. But “producers struggled with who would play Malala,” says documentary director Davis Guggenheim. Instead, they opted to bring cameras closer to Malala herself.
Guggenheim filmed the documentary over 18 months and says his goal was to show “a real person” instead of an icon. “A girl who does her homework,” he says. “A girl who sometimes doesn’t get As, plays Candy Crush, arm wrestles with her brothers” .
Malala says that she wants to tell the story of her family but she also wants to highlight that it is not just one family who has suffered through the situation of terrorism — many more are suffering and we need to help them. We want to inspire young girls to be part of the global campaign.
He Named Me Malala made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and will hit U.S. theaters on October 2.