‘Waiting for Superman' director Davis Guggenheim set to helm the project on young Pakistani activist Malala and her international campaign for the right to safe education for every child
Abu Dhabi, July 15, 2013 – Producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald announced today an early July production start for a feature-length documentary chronicling the story of 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai and her courageous fight to ensure a safe education for every child. Davis Guggenheim has signed on to direct. The project is being produced in association with and fully financed by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the Emirati film and television company with whom Parkes + MacDonald has a long-standing partnership.
Pakistani student activist Malala gained international recognition when she survived a brutal assassination attempt by the Taliban at age 14. Shot in the head and neck when gunmen opened fire on her school bus in Pakistan's Swat Valley, Malala was targeted for speaking out on behalf of girls' education in her community. Despite the senseless violence she endured, Malala did not waiver. Upon her recovery in Birmingham, England, she has courageously continued her campaign to ensure every child, boy or girl, in Pakistan and beyond, has access to a safe education.
For her steadfast advocacy, Malala was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest nominee in history. She was included in the 2013 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world and is currently in the process of writing a memoir to raise awareness about the 61 million children across the globe who are not in school. Recently, the United Nations and Gordon Brown, the organization's Special Envoy for Education, declared July 12, 2013 Malala Day in support of her global education campaign. She was also last weekend in the United States for the first time to speak in front of the UN General Assembly—her first major public address since being shot last October—and to celebrate her 16th birthday. The Untitled Malala Project documented this occasion.
Parkes says, “There are few stories Laurie and I have ever come across that are as compelling, urgent or important as the real-life struggle of Malala and her father Ziauddin on behalf of universal education for children. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to try to bring the lives of these extraordinary people to the screen.”
“'I have two daughters and they are inspired and captivated by Malala's story and her fight for education for every child” added Guggenheim. “I believe this movie will speak to every girl and every family in the world.'
“We are honored to be involved in making a film about such an urgent and timely issue,” said Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation. “We hope to inspire generations of children worldwide with Malala's message of courage and hope.”
Al Mubarak continued: “Meaningful partnerships between local and international talent have always been integral to Abu Dhabi's success. Image Nation is continuing that tradition of collaboration by working with top-talents Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and David Guggenheim on this important documentary.”
As part of a commitment to grow the local film industry through training and internship programs, Image Nation will make meaningful work opportunities on this film available to a minimum of five Emiratis. These opportunities will offer serious local filmmakers the chance to further their craft and careers by working with one of the most successful documentarians in the industry.
The film will debut in theatrical release in late 2014. No distributor has been chosen yet.