Fox Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “He Named Me Malala” for release later year.
The movie explores the life of Pakistani student activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt and then became a campaigner for the rights of children worldwide. She was named the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient in December.
“Waiting for Superman” director Davis Guggenheim helmed. The deal covers all markets except for French-speaking territories. Studiocanal will distribute the film in France.
“He Named Me Malala” is produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald under their long-term production partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi and co-financed by Participant Media.
“Malala’s incredible journey is both heartbreaking and inspiring,” said Fox Searchlight toppers Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley. “Her bravery in the face of adversity brought us to tears. The chance to bring her story to a global audience will be an honor for all of us here at Searchlight.”
Executive producers include Mohamed Al Mubarak and Michael Garin from Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Jeff Skoll for Participant Media. The film will also launch an international advocacy and fundraising campaign in partnership with the Malala Fund, Yousafzai’s nonprofit organization that works to empower adolescent girls through a quality secondary education.
In 2012, Yousafzai was wounded when gunmen opened fire on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. She was 14 and had been targeted for speaking out on behalf of girls’ education in her community.
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Tony Safford, Megan O’Brien and Ray Strache with Julian Zajfen at Ziffren Brittenham, which represented the filmmakers.