Principal photography has commenced in Dublin on the film ‘A Girl from Mogadishu’, which is a true story based on the testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, who – having escaped war-torn Somalia – has emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against Female Genital Mutilation and other forms of gender based violence.
This new Irish film is an inspiring true story Of female empowerment. Recent Irish media focus on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) commenced with the launch of the Ifrah Foundation/Global Media Campaign’s #MeTooFGM iniative on UN international FGM day, 6 February and was followed by the controversial RTE Primetime statements of Dr Ali Salim.
His conflating Islam with FGM/C precipitated a joint Ifrah Foundation/Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Centre statement culminating in Irish Imam, Dr Umar Al Qadri’s historic issuance of an emphatic Fatwa condemning FGM/C.
“A Girl from Mogadishu” celebrates the power of testimony. How, when women find the courage to stand-up, speak out and tell their truth, the impact can be more than inspiring and empowering, acting as a meaningful catalyst for change," says producer, writer and director, Mary McGuckian.
"Unifying global solidarity with the #MeTooFGM, Ifrah and the Global Media Campaign have positioned FGM/C awareness and international abandonment campaigns front and centre of the current female rights conversation as arguably the gender human rights issue of our times.”
Born into a refugee camp in war-torn Somalia, Ifrah was trafficked to Ireland as a teenager. Recounting her traumatic childhood experiences of Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting (FGM/C) when applying for refugee status, she is re-traumatized and vows to devote her life to the eradication of the practice. Taking her campaign all the way to the President of Ireland and finally to the European Parliament and United Nations.
In the course of her campaign activities in Ireland, Ifrah originated and organized the annual ‘Miss Ethnic Fashion Show’ from 2009 to 2013. An important Irish ‘immigrant integration’ event held annually at the Westin Hotel, it was intended to celebrate the beauty within every woman no matter what her ethnicity and to promote FGM/C awareness.
‘A Girl from Mogadishu’ stars Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away with Murder, Birth of a Nation) as Ifrah, Martha Canga Antonio (Black) and Barkhad Abdi (Blade Runner 2049, Eye of the Storm, Captain Phillips) as well as Somali icon, Maryam Mursals.
Additional casting announcements include Orla Brady (The Price of Desire, Into the Badlands, Fringe), Stanley Townsend (Redwater, The Tunnel, The Hollow Crown), Pauline McLynn (Father Ted, Eastenders, Shameless) with presenter-journalist Pat Kenny and journalist-global end FGM activist Maggie O’Kane also featuring as themselves.
‘A Girl from Mogadishu’ is a Pembridge (Ireland) and Umedia (Belgium) production, with production services provided by Dune Film Productions in Morocco. Post-production will take place at Windmill Studios, Dublin and Umedia VFX, Brussels.
Producer and Umedia CEO, Adrian Politowski (The Artist, Grace of Monaco) said: “The whole Umedia team is proud to be involved in this incredibly important story. There is no better time than now for this to be told.”
It is being produced by Mary McGuckian and Adrian Politowski, Headgear & Metrol Technology present in association with Premier Picture and The Exchange, a co-production with U Media and Screen Brussels, produced in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board.
Executive Producer credits include Tom Harberd, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross for Headgear, Anastasia Garret, Jason Garret and David Rogers for Premier Picture, Peter Bevan, Nadia Khamlichi, Tatjana Kozar and Gilles Waterkeyn for Umedia, Lesley McKimm for the Irish Film Board, Brian O’Shea for The Exchange and Ifrah Foundation board members, Emma Beanland and Caroline Keeling.