Telluride: 'He Named Me Malala' to Open 42nd Fest (Exclusive)

He Named Me Malala, a documentary about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who won 2014's Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote access to education for girls around the world, will open the 42nd Telluride Film Festival on Friday afternoon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The film, which was directed by Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) and will be released in the U.S. on Oct. 2, is the first documentary ever tapped to be the fest's "Patron Preview," a first-anywhere screening of a highly touted film that is open only to the fest's biggest supporters.

Guggenheim is expected to help introduce the film — for which he had unparalleled access to Malala, and which reportedly features considerable animation and an original song by Alicia Keys ("Story to Tell") — and to participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Malala cannot join him — she is studying at a private girls’ school in England, where she has lived ever since she was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban in 2012 — but there is rampant speculation that she and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, may participate, in some way, via a remote connection.

THR will post a full report about the entire gathering shortly after the film ends. (It will screen several more times in Telluride this weekend before heading north of the border for a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 12.)

Previous "Patron Preview" screenings — which shine a bright spotlight on an Oscar hopeful at this awards season-launching event — have included 2011's The Descendants, 2012's Argo (the eventual best picture Oscar winner), 2013's Labor Day and last year's Wild. (Descendants and Wild, like Malala, were Fox Searchlight releases.)

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