Fox Searchlight's 'He Named Me Malala' Opens in Theaters, Launching Global Campaign for Girls' Education
He Named Me Malala, the new documentary from Fox Searchlight Pictures and Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman), opens in theaters across the U.S. and Canada on Friday, October 9. The film tells the captivating story of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Laureate and activist for girls' education, who was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in 2012. The film's release is accompanied by a global social action campaign entitled Stand #withMalala, which aims to inspire people around the world to stand up and take action for education rights.
"The theme of the movie is how an ordinary person can find their voice and how powerful you can be if you express that," Guggenheim told The Hollywood Reporter. "Girls respond to this movie and connect to this idea that speaking up is a vital part of their lives. ... Girls all over the world confront [the same issue], which is, do they feel equal? Do they feel strong enough to speak out?"
To accompany the film's release, the Malala Fund launched the international Stand #withMalala campaign to mobilize millions of people worldwide. Supporters can join the conversation by following the #withMalala hashtag on Twitter and can get involved by donating to the Fund's education projects in Kenya, Nigera, and Pakistan, as well as Jordan and Lebanon, which are supporting Syrian refugee girls.
"This film tells the story of one girl, but I am one of many," Malala said. "There are millions of girls denied their right to education. Let us raise our voices, stand with girls, stand up for their rights and ensure every one of them gets the chance to learn. Education is the key to peace and a better future for all."
To specifically engage students, the Malala Fund launched the global Students Stand With Malala initiative. In the U.S., the program provides free school field trips for students to see the film in 25 cities, providing free tickets to a screening and covering all associated costs. Already more than 100,000 public school students have signed up to see the film through this initiative, and the screening series will expand worldwide as the film opens. Curriculum and discussion guides are available to all teachers to facilitate lessons about girls' education in the classroom.
In the UK, the Fund launched the Malala Youth Voice Programme, providing education resources to teachers that enable students ages 13-19 to develop their confidence, public speaking, and campaigning skills. The program also includes a short filmmaking competition, encouraging students to make short videos about the issues in their communities that matter most to them.
As part of this campaign to empower women and girls around the world, 21st Century Fox partnered with the LA Fund for Public Education to host a special screening of He Named Me Malala for an audience of nearly 7,000 public high school girls from the Los Angeles area, in lieu of a traditional premiere. Among those in attendance were students from Ghetto Film School Los Angeles, a local nonprofit co-founded by 21st Century Fox that teaches filmmaking to young people from historically underserved neighborhoods.
"If I ever had any doubt about being a teacher, I don't anymore," said Francis Arana, a senior in Boyle Heights who attends the Ghetto Film School on evenings and weekends. "I definitely want to be a teacher. [Malala] has inspired me."
The theatrical release will be followed by a spring television broadcast on the National Geographic Channels, airing in 171 countries and 45 languages. Many other 21st Century Fox businesses have supported the film and are helping bring its inspiring message to as many people as possible.
For more information on the film and how to get involved, visit Malala.org.
FOX and Nat Geo Channel to Air Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, Celebrating Scientists and Mathematicians
FOX and the National Geographic Channel will celebrate the work of today's leading scientists and mathematicians by broadcasting this year's Breakthrough Prize Ceremony, an awards show honoring the world's most prominent scientific researchers. Seth MacFarlane, executive producer of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and creator of Family Guy, will host the ceremony, which will air live on Nat Geo on Sunday, Nov. 8, with a one-hour version scheduled for FOX on Sunday, Nov. 29.
"We are proud to join forces with Don [Mischer, producer] and the Breakthrough Prize team not only to honor the best and brightest in science shaping the world of today and tomorrow, but also to bring this important event to the broadest global audience possible," said Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Channels U.S. "National Geographic was founded on the spirit of mavericks, and this partnership affords us the opportunity to continue this great tradition by recognizing those who are breaking barriers and expanding the limits of possibility."
The Breakthrough Prize honors important achievements in the fields of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Mathematics. Tech industry leaders Sergey Brin (Google), Anne Wojcicki (23andMe), Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (Facebook), Yuri Milner and Julia Milner (DST Global), and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang (Alibaba) launched the prize in 2013, aiming to celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career. Each of the Breakthrough Prize laureates receives a $3 million prize, and a total of seven prizes will be awarded.
This year, for the first time, the ceremony will also feature the Breakthrough Junior Challenge for students, which will award $400,000 in educational prizes to a student whose original video brings to life a scientific or mathematical idea or principle.
"It is an honor to partner with the Breakthrough Prize team to celebrate the incredible men and women who are driving the world's most significant scientific advances," said Gary Newman and Dana Walden, chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group. "We hope that by showcasing these great minds and their important work to millions of viewers, we can help them inspire the next generation of scientists."
The event is one of several upcoming programs at Nat Geo that explore the forefront of modern science, including Breakthrough, in which six Hollywood visionaries bring to life the stories, people, and technology behind the world's most cutting-edge scientific innovations, premiering November 1. In addition, the channel recently announced a new season of the acclaimed climate change series Years of Living Dangerously, which explores the effects of climate change across the planet, premiering in 2016.
The Breakthrough Prize Ceremony will air live on Nat Geo on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 10/9c, with the one-hour version scheduled for FOX on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 7-8 p.m. ET/PT. The one-hour version will air globally on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages.
For more information, visit BreakthroughPrize.org.
To commemorate the end of FOX's groundbreaking musical television series Glee, which sparked renewed interest and participation in school music programs during its six-season run, 21st Century Fox and the Give a Note Foundation in March announced the establishment of the 21st Century Fox Give a Note Grants to support 16 under-funded music education programs at schools across the United States. The two organizations worked closely to identify the recipient schools and have begun distributing the funds through school ceremonies this fall.
The initiative will support music programs at schools in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Montana, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Houston, and Seattle. The grants give a large boost to music programs that have struggled for years to find adequate funding, often doubling budgets or saving programs on the verge of getting cut.
"A lot of kids don't have that exposure to any kind of activity or fun or brightness in their life, and music gives that to them, and I love doing it," said Stephanie Manuel, a teacher at University Park Create Arts School in North Carolina, a Title 1 school that received a grant providing the entire music budget for the year. "We're going to use [the money] to start a recorder program, because music is not funded at the elementary level. I figure this will be a great way to get them started."
21st Century Fox and the Give a Note Foundation have organized grant presentation ceremonies at each of the schools, celebrating the teachers and staff that make the music programs possible and giving the students the chance to showcase their talents. "Music is definitely bringing us together, and it provides a lot of opportunities for us," said Mariko Shaw, and 11th grader at Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta.
The grant program is the latest chapter in a long-standing relationship between 21st Century Fox and the Give a Note Foundation. The company first partnered with the organization on the 2011 Glee Give a Note campaign, and since then, the two organizations have distributed more than $1 million in grants to nearly 90 arts programs across the country.
"Glee has inspired us all to fight for what we believe in and has been truly influential in driving support for music and the arts in schools," said Jane Mell Balek, Chief Operating Officer, Give a Note Foundation. "We are proud to work with 21st Century Fox to honor the show's legacy with a new grant program that will allow us to reach even more schools across the country."
The program comes as part of the company's long history of supporting Creativity & the Arts.
For more information on the grants, visit GiveANote.org.
At the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live on September 29, nearly 7,000 female high school students from the Los Angeles Unified School District gathered for an exclusive screening of He Named Me Malala, the newest documentary from Fox Searchlight Pictures and Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim. The event served as the film's West Coast premiere, and it gave the young women a chance to hear from activists and community leaders about the power they have to make a difference in the world. 21st Century Fox was a Presenting Sponsor of the event.
He Named Me Malala tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the 18 year-old Pakistani activist for women's rights who was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in October 2012. She suffered multiple gunshot wounds, only to make a miraculous recovery and return to public life as an international advocate for girls' education. In October 2014, she became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
"I always make a movie with a certain audience in mind," said Guggenheim, who addressed the crowd of 7,000 girls before the screening began. "With this film, the audience is you... This movie has a global story, but it really speaks to every girl everywhere."
The event also served as the launch of Girls Build LA, the newest campaign from the LA Fund for Public Education to empower young women to take action in their communities. The LA Fund has a long history of working to improve the education system in Los Angeles, and this new initiative will award grants to 50 teams of girls who identify social issues in their communities and then propose solutions. The organization also worked with the LA County Board of Supervisors and the LA City Council to recognize October as Girls Empowerment Month in honor of the three-year campaign.
Those in attendance also received a special video message from First Lady Michelle Obama.
"I am so proud of all of you for committing to your education and stepping up as leaders in your schools and communities," Obama said. "Don't listen to the doubters. Don't listen to the haters. Just work harder to prove them wrong... The President and I can't wait to see everything you all will contribute to your schools, your communities, and our country."
Following the screening, students were treated to a festival on the L.A. Live Plaza, where 21st Century Fox organized a selfie campaign, encouraging girls to make a pledge to #StandWithMalala and take action in their schools and communities.
Among those who participated in the social media campaign were students from Ghetto Film School Los Angeles, a local nonprofit co-founded by 21st Century Fox that teaches filmmaking to young people from traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
"If I ever had any doubt about being a teacher, I don't anymore," said Francis Arana, a senior in Boyle Heights who attends the Ghetto Film School on evenings and weekends. "I definitely want to be a teacher. She has inspired me."
"She's all of us," said Chantal Serrano, another GFS LA student. "She's saying you have to fight for your rights no matter what."
Fox Searchlight Pictures' He Named Me Malala will open in New York and Los Angeles on October 2, with a wide release on October 9. The theatrical run will be followed by a television broadcast on the National Geographic Channel in early 2016, airing in 171 countries and 45 languages. Many other 21st Century Fox businesses have supported the film and are helping bring its inspiring message to as many people as possible.
For more information on the film and Malala's work, visit HeNamedMeMalalaMovie.com.
On September 24, nearly 200 Fox employees based in Los Angeles came together for a meal packaging event to benefit Stop Hunger Now, the global nonprofit providing nutrition and medical supplies to the world's most vulnerable communities. Altogether, the Fox team assembled more than 25,000 meals for donation.
Stop Hunger Now operates meal-packaging programs at 19 cities in the U.S. and in South Africa, Malaysia, India, Italy, and the Philippines. The organization has provided more than 180 million meals in 65 countries since its founding in 1998, and this year alone, volunteers around the world have packaged 45 million meals and shipped over $9 million in donated aid, primarily vitamins and medical supplies.
FoxGives is a year-round volunteering program for Fox employees based in Los Angeles. By partnering with local and global nonprofit organizations, the team works to develop and maximize the impact of volunteer opportunities for Fox staff through projects focusing on at-risk youth, health, and environmental sustainability.
For more information, visit FoxGives on Facebook.