< Back to Press Releases

Participant Media Joins As Financial Partner On Image Nation Abu Dhabi's Malala Yousafzai Documentary, Directed By Davis Guggenheim



Parkes + MacDonald Producing Feature Film for Early 2015 Release

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES and LOS ANGELES (April 9, 2014) – Image Nation Abu Dhabi announced today that Participant Media will co-finance the upcoming Malala Yousafzai documentary from Parkes + MacDonald Productions.

In addition to its financial commitment, Participant Media will collaborate with Image Nation to launch a social action and advocacy campaign to expand the reach and impact of the film release.

Directed by Academy Award®-winner Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, 2007), and produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, the feature-length documentary about Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai’s fight for the right to education is expected to release early next year.

Parkes + MacDonald announced the start of production in early July 2014, in association with Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the Emirati film and television company with whom Parkes + MacDonald has a long-standing partnership.

Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation, commented:  “Participant's passion for the project, along with our past experience on a number of films together, made them perfect co-financing partners.  We're excited for them to come aboard.  Our combined expertise will ensure Malala’s story will help inspire audiences around the world.”

Jim Berk, Participant Media’s CEO, commented: “Malala Yousafzai has said that she speaks, not for herself, ‘but so those without a voice can be heard.’ Jeff Skoll founded Participant Media to provide a platform for voices calling for social change, which is why Participant’s collaboration on this film was so important to him. Participant is proud to be part of the incredible team bringing Malala’s voice, and her fight, to audiences around the world, from the screen and into the community, to spark global engagement around education as a universal right.”

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, commented:  “Malala is an inspiration all over the world and we are honored to play a part in bringing her story to the big screen.  We have believed in this project from its inception and are now pleased to have Participant Media, who are strong advocates for social action, as a financing partner on the project.”

In 2012, Pakistani student activist Malala gained international recognition when she survived a brutal assassination attempt by the Taliban at age 14.  Shot in the head and neck when gunmen opened fire on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, Malala was targeted for speaking out on behalf of girls’ education in her community.  Malala Yousafzai’s charity, The Malala Fund (www.malalafund.org), invests in projects that support education and empowerment for girls around the world.

Participant Media, the company behind Guggenheim’s previous documentaries, An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for ‘Superman’, is focused on entertainment that inspires social change.

Participant Media has a long-standing relationship with Image Nation, having partnered on the Participant Media/Image Nation Film Fund, which financed such films as Cesar Chavez, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Help, and upcoming releases A Most Violent Year and Out of the Dark.


Press Contact

All interview and appearance requests, or other press inquires, should be directed to our Communications team.

Find a Press Contact

Sign up to get exclusive updates and extras.

Participant MediaAbout Participant Media

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 30 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 100 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 73 Academy Award® nominations and 18 wins, including Best Picture for Green Book and Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.


Participant Media became a Certified B Corporation in 2018. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.