*“I have two daughters. When I read about Malala, the father/daughter story, a universal story I wanted to know more about these extraordinary people,” said Davis Guggenheim, director of the Oscar winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” about taking on the task of directing the Fox Searchlight documentary film, ‘He Named Me Malala.’ “The producers brought the Rights; they said it can’t be a movie it has to be a documentary. It was a great journey. It was nice to meet a Muslim family.”
Inspired by her book “I Am Malala,” “He Named Me Malala” shows that we all can be brave, stand against immense oppression and make a small difference that may change the world. He Named Me Malala is the story of the youngest Noble Peace Prize recipient garnered for her stand against the Taliban’s ban against educating girls in her home town of Pakistan where her father owned a series of schools. The Taliban decided that it was illegal for females to be education, unless it was to read the Koran and anyone found going to school or talking against this law was sentence to death, no trial. As an educated daughter of a school teacher, Ziauddin Yousafzai who was also an out-spoken advocate for non-violent Muslim practices, it was only a matter of time before the two met.
At age 12 Malala Yousafzai wrote a “blog” for the BBC about what was happening in Pakistan during the Taliban rule. The next year the New York Times made a documentary about her life in Pakistan under the Taliban. Her notoriety rose as she gave interviews to the media and she was nominated by Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. By age 15 while on the way to school a gunman fired on her, hitting her and two other students, but not fatally.
Malala was in the worst condition because she had been hit in the head. Her assassination attempt sparked world-wide attention. Fifty Islamic Clergy issued a “fatwa” against those who tried to kill her and the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education launched a UN Petition in her name demanding that all children worldwide be in school by end of 2015. This UN Petition led to Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.
Director Guggenheim combined the documentary, which was life with the Yousafzai family while they were on the run from the Taliban and at the same time speaking around the world against the oppression of education, with animated skits. When I asked the director whose idea it was to use the animation in telling some of her story, Guggenheim said, “My idea…one of those ideas that come when you in a corner, you get the best ideas when you get stuck. She was telling the story with longing and I wanted to create that world.”
The animation told different parts of her life that the documentary was not able to capture, such as how and why her father named her Malala, the reality of the terror the Taliban brought, and why her mother decided not to be educated. Davis said he used Cal State University’s Art School students for the animation. They didn’t use the contemporary computer animation process but they did the animation by hand.
“I built a company of 10 animation stations right in my home,” he said proudly. When I asked if he would use the animation combination again in future projects he said, “I hope so, it was so much fun. It was challenging though because I had never done it before.”
I think he can handle the challenges. Davis was executive producer of the Oscar winning film Training Day and director of the Academy Award winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Other directing credits include television on “The Shield,” “Alias,” “24,” “NYPD Blue” and “ER.”
Davis Guggenheim spent 18 months with Malala and her family traveling from place to place for security reasons while speaking out for the education of females all over the world while also helping refugees from her country. He Named Me Malala is suspenseful, funny, heart warming and a blatant look at what life can be like under an oppressive rule.
Learn more about the Fox Searchlight documentary He Named Me Malala by logging onto www.Malala-Film.com.
(Syndicated Columnist: Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENT: Sat April 16, 2016 the “Uplifting Minds II” Free Entertainment Conference arrives in Baltimore at Security Square Mall and Sat October 22, 2016 the “Uplifting Minds II” Free Entertainment Conference at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, CA. www.UpliftingMinds2.com