Inspiring true story of female empowerment starring Aja Naomi King has commenced principal photography in Belgium

 Principal photography has commenced on the Pembridge Pictures and Umedia production ‘A Girl from Mogadishu’ – a true story based on the testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, who – having escaped war-torn Somalia – emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against Gender Based Violence. Filming in Belgium commenced October 18th, 2017 and will complete in February in Ireland and Morocco.

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.

Born into a refugee camp in war-torn Somalia, Ifrah is 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.

Producer, writer and director, Mary McGuckian (The Price of Desire): “Ifrah is just an immensely inspiring person and her story speaks to all of refugee status, sexual violence in conflict, gender based violence, the asylum system as well as FGM. Fundamentally, “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, and act as a meaningful catalyst for change.

Producer and Umedia CEO, Adrian Politowski (The Artist, Grace of Monaco) said: “The whole Umedia team are proud to be involved in this incredibly important story. There is no better time than now for this to be told.”

Ifrah Ahmed’s message is: “I hope our film achieves the same impact on FGM/C as the film ‘Philadelphia’ did for the issue of HIV/AIDS”.

 ‘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.

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.

In collaboration with Ifrah Foundation, A Girl from Mogadishu co-hosted a shoot-event on October 23rd, 2017 set at The Square in Brussels where Aja Naomi King performed ‘The Testimony of Ifrah Ahmed’ for filming to celebrate the publication of the Ifrah Foundation National Action Plan for the abandonment of FGM/C in Somalia.


Umedia is a vertically integrated, international film group with 160 staff based in London, Brussels, Paris, Vancouver and Los Angeles. The company is one of Europe’s leading production groups, combining the activities of development, production, financing, visual effects and finishing. Since its inception in 2004, Umedia has invested more than $500 million via its tax shelter, equity and development funds, and has been involved in 350 films including GRACE OF MONACO, JOHN WICK, YVES SAINT LAURENT and multi-Academy Award-winning THE ARTIST.

Umedia is currently in production on a number of features including: I KILL GIANTS with Zoe Saldana, produced with Chris Columbus, and directed by Academy Award Winner Anders Walter; MANDY starring Nicolas Cage; SUBMERGENCE by Wim Wenders with Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy; Tom Wirkola’s WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY with Glenn Close, Noomi Rapace and Williem Dafoe; JOURNEY’S END starring Sam Claflin and Paul Bettany; and the Daniel Alfredson’s INTRIGO trilogy starring Ben Kingsley.

Pembridge Pictures

MARY McGUCKIAN has been writing, producing and directing independent feature films for over twenty years. Pembridge Pictures is the development, finance and production entity Mary McGuckian uses to generate original material. Committed to dramatic story-telling from a female perspective, she continues to campaign for equal opportunities for women in the film industry and applauds the recent upsurge of attention to this issue. www.pembridge.pictures

The Ifrah Foundation

IFRAH AHMED is One of the World’s top International FGM/C Eradication Advocates and Activists. She has Received Many Humanitarian and Other Awards for her Work and Campaigns Relentlessly for Legislation to ban FGM/C Around the World as well as Funding and Implementing Programs to Effect Eradication in East Africa with a Focus on Somalia. www.ifrahfoundation.org


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