×

“How to Get Away With Murder” star Aja Naomi King is portraying Somali activist Ifrah Ahmed in the biopic “A Girl From Mogadishu.”

Principal photography has started in Belgium with Ireland-based Pembridge Pictures and Belgium-based Umedia as the production companies. Production will be completed in February in Ireland and Morocco.

Martha Canga Antonio, Barkhad Abdi, and Somalian musician Maryam Mursals also star. Sales are launching at the American Film Market, which opens Nov. 1 in Santa Monica, Calif.

Ahmed was born into a refugee camp in Somalia and sent to Ireland as a teenager. Recounting her traumatic childhood experiences of female genital mutilation-cutting (FGM/C) when applying for refugee status, she vows to devote her life to the eradication of the practice.

“I hope our film achieves the same impact on FGM/C as the film ‘Philadelphia’ did for the issue of HIV/AIDS,” she said.

Mary McGuckian is producing and directing from her own script. Umedia CEO Adrian Politowski is also producing. Headgear & Metrol Technology are presenting the movie in association with Premier Picture and the Exchange. It’s a co-production with U Media and Screen Brussels, produced in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann (the Irish Film Board).

Executive producers are Tom Harberd, Phil Hunt, and Compton Ross for Headgear; Anastasia Garret, Jason Garret, and David Rogers for Premier Picture; Peter Bevan, Nadia Khamlichi, Tatjana Kozar, and Gilles Waterkeyn for Umedia; Lesley McKimm for the Irish Film Board; Brian O’Shea for the Exchange; and Ifrah Foundation board members, Emma Beanland and Caroline Keeling.

“Ifrah is just an immensely inspiring person and her story speaks to all of refugee status, sexual violence in conflict, gender based violence, the asylum system as well as FGM,” McGuckian said. “Fundamentally, ‘A Girl From Mogadishu’ celebrates the power of testimony. How, when women find the courage to stand-up, speak out and tell their truth, the impact can be more than inspiring and empowering, and act as a meaningful catalyst for change.”

King has starred on all four seasons as Michaela Pratt in “How to Get Away With Murder.” She portrayed the wife of Nat Turner in “Birth of a Nation.” The news  about “A Girl From Mogadishu” was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.