In 2012, a Taliban member attempted to assassinate then-15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for speaking out in support of girls’ education in Pakistan. Now, a documentary from director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) takes a look at the brave girl who not only survived the attack but continued to advocate for expanded women’s education worldwide. In 2014, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and she became famous to millions of Westerners for her best-selling memoir and her appearances on shows like The Daily Show.
In this exclusive featurette, Guggenheim explains how he chose the title He Named Me Malala and why he wanted to highlight Malala’s close relationship with her father.
“When the project was brought to me, my first instinct, which is usually the thing that drives how I make a movie, is, ‘Oh, this is a father-daughter story,’” Guggenheim says in the clip. “It’d be very easy to make it about bad guys with beards and guns, and I was drawn to this idea of a father’s love for his daughter and this extraordinary girl who does extraordinary things.”
Malala’s father, Zia, named his daughter after another couragous woman, a decision that seemingly charted her destiny.
“The first message this documentary gives is that a girl’s courage, a girl’s resilience can challenge all those human atrocities,” Zia Yousafzai says. “Not with war, not with arms, with passions and peace.”
He Named Me Malala arrives in select theaters Oct. 2.