News Column

Malala on screen

July 15, 2013

YellowBrix

July 15--Abu Dhabi film company Image Nation will finance and co-produce a feature-length documentary chronicling the story of 16-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl-cum-activist Malala Yousafzai, who gained international attention for her fight for children's right to education -- nearly losing her own life in the process.

The documentary will be directed by Davis Guggenheim (who has directed films and ) and produced by the well-known duo Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (and ).

Image Nation CEO Michael Garin told there were several reasons the project appealed to them.

"First, this is an incredibly compelling story of a courageous young woman who takes a very important stand, speaking out for the right to education for every child, and we are very interested in telling that story."

Garin also said he believed the film would be a great opportunity for Emirati filmmakers to meet the West's film industry heavyweights.

Image Nation and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have a long-standing partnership.

" (an Afghan story) ... proved their interest in the region, so they came to us asking us to convince Malala and her family to agree on a feature film and that her story would not be exploited," explained Garin.

"When Walter came and met Malala, he decided a feature movie was not appropriate, as a Malala-inspired story would never be told as well as her real life story and nobody could play Malala as well as Malala herself.

The family agreed and we agreed to make a documentary." Garin agreed most documentaries were an unwise financial investment, but the best of them -- such as Michael Moore's films -- broke records at box offices and Malala, he hoped, would have such a success.

"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 honour and a privilege to be able to try to bring the lives of these extraordinary people to the screen," said Parkes.

"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."

According to Image Nation, the filming will start at the UN headquarters in New York and continue in several other locations around the world, including, of course, Pakistan.

Although the producers haven't signed with a distribution company yet, the documentary is expected to be ready for cinema release in late 2014.

Image Nation has secured jobs on this film for five Emirati filmmakers, who will have the chance to further their craft and careers. The company is still looking for filmmakers of any level to come forward, but this will be over a one-year commitment.

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(c)2013 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Visit the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) at www.khaleejtimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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