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.
As part of a new partnership between 20th Century Fox and UNICEF, the familiar characters from the upcoming Blue Sky Studios film The Peanuts Movie will help raise funds for the organization this fall. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and more will appear in ads and resources for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, a national initiative encouraging kids to ask for donations to UNICEF as they go door-to-door on Halloween.
"We are excited to celebrate the release of The Peanuts Movie by partnering Charles Schulz's iconic characters with the iconic Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program," said Zachary Eller, Senior Vice President, Marketing Partnerships, 20th Century Fox. "We know Charlie Brown and the gang will do their best to help raise funds for this most worthy cause!"
Since 1950, the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program has raised more than $175 million for UNICEF to provide children around the world with medicine, nutrition, clean water, emergency relief, and education.
"Linus had the honor of appearing on our trademark orange boxes in 1952, and this year he's enlisted Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of The Peanuts Movie characters to join him on the box in support of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "We're thrilled that the beloved Peanuts characters will be joining us to Trick-or-treat for UNICEF and to inspire a new generation of kids in the U.S. to help other kids around the world."
In addition to children's efforts to raise funds for UNICEF, teachers of grade K-12 students can participate in the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF School Challenge. This fall, teachers can enter a short essay (200-500 words) contest about encouraging global citizenship in the classroom and community. The top 15 entrants will receive $500 worth of Scholastic books. Entries must be submitted by Dec. 1, 2015 to be considered.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF has also developed a series of lesson plans to help teachers empower students with the knowledge that they can save lives, and motivate them to become global citizens.
To learn more about the campaign and the UNICEF School Challenge, visit UNICEFUSA.org. The Peanuts Movie arrives in theaters in the U.S. November 6.
Nat Geo Channel Announces New Season of Acclaimed Climate Change Series 'Years of Living Dangerously'
On September 17, the National Geographic Channel and The Years Project announced that the cable channel would be the new home of the Emmy Award-winning documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, which explores the effects of climate change across the planet. The new season will feature Hollywood correspondents such as James Cameron, David Letterman, and Cecily Strong, and will air exclusively on National Geographic Channels in 2016 in 171 countries and 45 languages.
"Years of Living Dangerously is bold, audacious, and has a proven track record. By combining the access and reputation of National Geographic with Hollywood's brightest minds and journalism's heaviest hitters, we plan to create even greater impact with the new season and awaken all of us to the reality of our global situation," said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Channels. "National Geographic has an unrivaled 127-year history of inspiring people to care about the planet, and this series will carry on that legacy and be supported by the incredible global reach of the National Geographic brand that is unmatched in television today."
The new season will feature executive producers James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as Jack Black, Ty Burrell, Thomas Friedman, Joshua Jackson, David Letterman, Aasif Mandvi, Olivia Munn, Ian Somerhalder, Cecily Strong, and more giving first-person accounts from locations around the world where the effects of climate change are most prevalent. They will cover crucial issues like severe hurricanes, historic droughts, and the rapidly increasing extinction rate of the planet's wildlife.
National Geographic will support this project with all of its global resources, including a comprehensive collection of the society's climate change education resources launched in honor of the series.
"With the unparalleled global reach and inside access of National Geographic, we are going to raise the bar even higher this season and shed light on the catastrophic changes taking place on our planet through the lenses and investigative reporting of top Hollywood influencers," said Joel Bach from The Years Project, also an executive producer on the series. "We're also going to focus much more this season on solutions that individuals, communities, companies and even governments can use to address worldwide climate change."
The series is produced for National Geographic Channel by Years of Living Dangerously LLC.
This news comes following the previous announcement that the National Geographic Society would expand its partnership with 21st Century Fox to create a new media venture called National Geographic Partners, combining the channels with the society's other media assets, including National Geographic magazine. The deal, valued at $725 million, pushes the Society's endowment to more than $1 billion, enabling the organization to nearly double its investment in an array of science, research, and education programs, including the creation of the National Geographic Grosvenor Center for Education.
On Friday, September 18, Ghetto Film School Los Angeles and the nonprofit Film Independent will present the second annual GFS LA Screening Showcase, where GFS students' 11-minute short films will screen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the western United States. GFS, which offers hands-on training and film education to young people from low-income communities, is now in its second year in Los Angeles. 21st Century Fox is the funding sponsor of GFS LA.
The event is the culmination of months of work for the 31 students, who are currently enrolled in the GFS LA Fellows Program. The students write and produce the films entirely on their own, and the screening offers the chance to celebrate their achievements.
"It's an opportunity to showcase their work to their friends and family and sort of say, 'Hey, this is what I did with my summer,'" said Alvy Johnson, Program Coordinator at GFS LA.
Following the screening, the Fellows will participate in an on-stage conversation with Film Independent Curator Elvis Mitchell. The films chosen for the screening have also been viewed a panel of industry professionals that includes director/cinematographer Jan De Bont (Die Hard, Speed) and director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Miss You Already). The jury will award scholarships to three of the filmmakers.
The program offers students a 30-month college-level pre-professional immersion in digital storytelling and production training.
21st Century Fox, co-founder of GFS LA, has taken an active role in the students' development. Executives have served as guest speakers and mentors, and one of the students' first ever projects was to create television promos for the FX channels.
"That's one of the things that we hope will set us apart from other film programs is that direct connection with working professionals so we can create opportunities for these students to work in the industry," Johnson said.
GFS continues to expand in other ways, as well. This summer, GFS LA partnered with Loyola Marymount University in Westchester, Los Angeles, to create a College Residency program for GFS students. The free program is scheduled to continue for the next two summers.
Simone Walker, a 15-year-old high school student from LA who participated in the program, told the LA Times, "I see myself going into the film industry as a producer or an assistant director, but education comes first... Being 15, college is something I've spent a lot of time thinking about but not having a good idea of what I had to do or how it worked. The program really helped me to understand what college is and what I've got to do to succeed in it."
For more information on the Ghetto Film School, visit GhettoFilm.org.
On Tuesday, September 15, 20th Century Fox and Microsoft announced the Hacking Mars Design Challenge, a unique online science and technology competition developed exclusively around the upcoming Fox film The Martian to drive interest in STEM subjects. The winning team will collect a $25,000 grand prize and travel to Microsoft to experience the company's HoloLens technology. The contest is open to anyone in the world over the age of 18, but students with interests in STEM are strongly encouraged to apply.
Directed by Ridley Scott and adapted from Andy Weir's novel, The Martian follows Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) as he finds himself stranded on Mars alone following a botched mission. With only meager supplies, he must find a way to grow food, produce water, and signal Earth that he is still alive.
The Hacking Mars Design Challenge invites teams to research and submit a three-to-five minute video about a product, service, app, or game that would help Watney address three challenges: staying alive (grow food, filter air, produce water), passing time (keep hope alive, deal with isolation and stress), and getting home (communicate with Earth). Teams can tackle one topic or all three, and they must submit their entries by October 13.
"We're giving students about one month," said Sarah Morris, a senior design strategist at Windows. "We're asking them to... partner with friends in different areas of study. So, if you're a designer, grab a friend who's majoring in computer science or physics."
Microsoft is also activating its family of brands to aid the teams as they craft their projects. Participants will be able to use Skype to connect with Microsoft tech experts, watch the trailer and exclusive content from the film, and view custom-made videos from Fox containing interviews with Andy Weir about the challenges Watney faces on Mars. Teams can also use Bing to navigate an interactive map that tracks Watney's journey and features exclusive content to aid teams with their projects.
The team chosen as the winner will collect a $25,000 grand prize and will travel to Microsoft to experience the company's HoloLens technology, which enables high-definition holograms to come to life in the real world, seamlessly integrating with physical spaces. Microsoft is currently teaming with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to use HoloLens to provide virtual aid to astronauts working on the International Space Station.
In addition to the contest, Fox and Microsoft will encourage classrooms across the country to participate in discussions about space through free lesson plans about science, engineering, and language arts, available to K-12 educators. The lesson plans, which will be paired with Bing's daily home page image, can be incorporated into the classroom's daily routine or can be used at various points throughout the school year.
"The concept of traveling to another planet is still new and foreign, and can be intimidating," said Bonnie McCracken, a senior product marketing manager for Bing. "These lesson plans help them interact and be entertained at the same time. It's a really great way to connect with the story while also learning."
The Martian will be released in theaters on October 2. For more information on the Hacking Mars Design Challenge, visit Microsoft.com.
Xploration Outer Space, one of the four series comprising the Fox Television Stations' two-hour block of STEM-focused children's programming entitled Xploration Station, recently partnered with Project PoSSUM to launch the #StudentAstronaut Contest. On Friday, September 11, through a special video message, Xploration Outer Space host Emily Calendrelli announced Ohio State University senior Jillian Yuricich as the winner of the competition.
"We were so impressed with your creativity and your passion for space exploration that we want to feature you in a season two episode of our show," Calandrelli said.
Yuricich will get to fly to Florida this October to attend PoSSUM Academy, a special 5-day astronaut training program where she will learn about the Earth's upper atmosphere while training to perform an experiment during a suborbital space mission.
The curriculum includes learning to operate PoSSUM instruments, working inside a pressurized spacesuit, and simulating suborbital mission profiles through aerobatic flight with legendary aerobatic pilot, Patty Wagstaff. Yuricich's experience will be featured on an episode of Xploration Outer Space to air later this fall.
Xploration Outer Space and its three sister series returned for a new season on Saturday, September 12, on local Fox stations across the country. The other series comprising Xploration Station are Xploration Awesome Planet, hosted by Philippe Cousteau, Xploration Earth 2050, hosted by Chuck Pell, and Xploration Animal Science, which explores animal behavior. Both Xploration Awesome Planet and Xploration Earth 2050 were nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards this year.
For more information on the contest, visit StudentAstronaut.com.