“There is a moment when you have to choose, whether to be silent or stand up.” – Malala Yousafzai
Oscar winner director Davis Guggenheim is no stranger to making heart-felt, impactful and honest documentaries. In his latest documentary, He Named Me Malala, he follows Malala Yousafzai in her journey from Pakistan to winning the Noble Peace Price and tells the story of her life in a beautiful and poignant way. With the use of creative animation, Guggenheim asks Malala and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, questions on Malala’s journey in being this incredibly brave young girl who speaks up for girl’s education across the world.
I got goosebumps the moment I saw the trailer for He Named Me Malala. So as I walked into the Ryerson Theatre for the TIFF screening, I knew I was about to watch something very special. The story of Malala and her courage speaks to all audiences regardless of background. It is without a doubt that she is one of the most important role models and heroes of our time.
Malala has already become a household name to many around the world. She is the young girl who stood up for her rights for education in a place that wouldn’t allow her to speak up. With her father by her side, she pushed forward and continued to speak her truth. But her efforts were sadly punished by the Taliban who shot her three times while she was on a school bus.
Malala made it through and her journey as an Education Activist only persevered as she moved forward with even greater determination. What struck me in this film was her ability to forgive. When asked by Guggenheim about whether or not she was angry at the Taliban, she said she never, not even for a moment, felt angry at the men who tried to kill her. She said this with a smile and you could see that it was true. Her purpose is so strong and rooted, that her time ‘hating’ anyone was never an issue.
Ziauddin Yousafzai speaks of his daughter with wonderful admiration. A teacher and advocate himself, he definitely plays a pivotal role in Malala’s life. After all, he named her after a girl who spoke out and eventually got killed. He named her after a female hero and Malala eventually became that hero herself. Powerful!
The movie really showcased Malala’s life well by not only showing her advocacy for girl’s education, but also how she interacted with her family and social life. The film was shot while she was seventeen and it was very nice to see her just be a teenager, playing cards and lovingly teasing her brothers.
One of the highlights of the entire TIFF event was the surprise Q & A with Malala and her father. Malala, with a great sense of humour, speaks candidly about receiving the Noble Peace Prize. She also mentions that speaking in front of the UN or other World Leaders is an opportunity for her to speak on “behalf of children.”
Through her actions, Malala has broken down barriers and become a voice for many children across the globe. She continues to fight for education while also completing her own. She stands up for rights of girls and wants everyone to stand up for education with her.
You can do that by hashtagging #withmalala on twitter and going to watch this very important film of our time.
“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai
I stand #withmalala
For more about Malala, visit: https://www.malala.org/