Three years after she was shot in the head, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai's story will play in theaters across the country in a new documentary that opens Friday nationwide.
"He Named Me Malala" tells the story of Yousafzai's fight for girls' education in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while boarding a school bus on October 9, 2012. Yousafzai, who was 15 at the time, survived the assassination attempt and continued her campaign for girls' education globally alongside her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai.
"A lot of people know Malala as the girl who was shot on her school bus and then some people recently know her as the girl who won the Nobel Peace Prize. But what they don't know is that it's this very rich story," Davis Guggenheim, the film's director, said in an interview with NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly Tuesday night. "She was named after this girl who spoke out to rally the Afghanis to beat the British 100 years ago in a war and was killed for speaking out. And Malala herself speaks out and is almost killed for speaking out."
The documentary traces Yousafzai's journey from the Swat Valley to some of the world's largest stages. In 2014, Yousafzai became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17.
"The Tablian who wanted to snuff out her voice actually did the opposite and this sort of icon is born," Guggenheim said.
"He Named Me Malala" made its debut in the U.S. at the Telluride Film Festival last month, and opened in select theaters on October 2 ahead of its nationwide release on October 9--two days ahead of the International Day of the Girl Child, which "recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world."
"Malala Yousafzai is one of my personal heroes—and proof that one person can change the world," Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, said in a Facebook post Wednesday. "The film goes into wide release this weekend ahead of the International #DayOfTheGirl, and I can't think of a better example of how one girl's voice can empower millions."