This is the second in our mini-season of feminist themed films in celebration of International Women’s Day.
This film 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 home region, the Swat Valley in Pakistan, was shot in the head by the Taliban, sparking international outrage. An educational activist in Pakistan, since recovering from her injuries in the UK, she has emerged as an international campaigner for children and, in December 2014, became the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The story is told through interviews with Malala and members of her family, who are still living in the UK although very keen to return to Pakistan, which, at the moment, is impossible. The director, Davis Guggenheim (Oscar winner for An Inconvenient Truth) deals with the problem of how to depict the family’s past in Pakistan by telling the story through rather delightful animations. Jason Carpenter, the animator, says that Guggenheim had a vision for the animations as though from a storybook. They did a lot of research to create a vision of the colour in Swat Valley that was true to Malala’s memories: the cool parts of night, the sunrises; the battle sequences were darker.
The name of the film is significant because it underlines the importance of Malala’s father in her story. Ziauddin is himself an inspiring, influential and brave activist who stood up against the Taliban and talks of his guilt about encouraging Malala to do the same and the consequences of this. She is very clear, however, that she is not her father’s puppet and the fight for the rights of girls is something she has taken on in her own right.
It won the Audience Award at the 2015 San Diego Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary in the recent BAFTA awards.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall