One of the daughters of Civil Rights activist Malcolm X is planning to produce a documentary on the life of her legendary father. But Ilyasah Shabazz has come up with a unique strategy to fund the project. She is turning to the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar for the $6 million to back the film, reports The Grio.
It is always difficult to find money to make documentary films, especially one about controversial leaders. So Shabazz decided to forgo knocking on Hollywood studio doors. For Shabazz due to the strong ties her father had with the Middle East, it was a natural place to turn to for financing. In an interview with the The Peninsula, Shabazz explains her move.
“My father had traveled across the Middle East and influenced many people in the region. For the documentary, we will interview people in the Arab world who met him personally and cherish memories about his life and legacy,” says Shabazz. “We and Qatar Foundation share similar goals and values in education and youth empowerment.”
The documentary on her father will not be her first experience with filmmaking. She was advising scholar on the award-winning PBS documentary Prince Among Slaves, produced by Unity Productions Foundation in 2007.
Shabazz was two years old when she witnessed with her mother and sisters the assassination of her father in 1965. She is founder and president of Ilyasah Shabazz Enterprises, Inc. And, Shabazz, who holds a master’s degree from Fordham University, is also involved in youth empowerment program The WAKE-UP Tour as a motivational speaker. In 2002, she wrote Growing Up X: A Memoir by the Daughter of Malcolm X.
There have been other films about her father, including the PBS documentary Gil Noble´s Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994), the James Earl Jones-narrated documentary Malcolm X (1972) and of course, Spike Lee’s biographical motion picture Malcolm X (1992).