30th March, 2015


Specialty Arm Acquires Worldwide Rights to Parkes+MacDonald/Image Nation Film Studiocanal to Distribute in France

LOS ANGELES, CA March 30, 2015 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights less France and other French-speaking territories to the documentary HE NAMED ME MALALA, directed by Academy Award®-winner Davis Guggenheim.  Studiocanal will distribute the film in France.  HE NAMED ME MALALA is scheduled to be released in 2015.

The documentary, produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald under their long-term production partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi and co-financed by Participant Media, is an intimate portrait of Malala Yousafzai, who was wounded when Taliban gunmen opened fire on her and her friends’ school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

The then 15-year-old teenager, who had been targeted for speaking out on behalf of girls’ education in her region of Swat Valley in Pakistan, was shot in the head, sparking international media outrage.  An educational activist in Pakistan, Yousafzai has since emerged as a leading campaigner for the rights of children worldwide and in December 2014, became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

“Malala’s incredible journey is both heartbreaking and inspiring.  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,” said Gilula and Utley.

“Spending the last 18 months with Malala, her father Ziauddin and their family has been one of the great experiences of my life.  Now that Fox Searchlight is joining Image Nation and Participant Media, we have the opportunity to share their moving story with the world,” said Guggenheim.

“This project has been an incredible journey and we’re now pleased to be joined by Fox Searchlight Pictures, whose expertise will help ensure the film reaches as many people as possible with its inspiring message,” said Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s Founder & Chairman commented, “Participant is thrilled that Fox Searchlight has joined this incredible team bringing Malala’s voice, and her efforts to insure that every young woman in the world has a chance to get an education, to audiences everywhere.”

The film’s producers are Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. Executive producers include Mohamed Al Mubarak and Michael Garin from Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Jeff Skoll for Participant Media.

In a call to millions of other girls around the world and those who stand with them, the film will also launch an international advocacy and fundraising campaign in partnership with the Malala Fund, Malala’s nonprofit organization working to empower adolescent girls globally through a quality secondary education.

The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions, Tony Safford; Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, Megan O’Brien; and Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache, and Julian Zajfen at Ziffren Brittenham, which represented the filmmakers.