Oscar for Pakistan filmmaker
Los Angeles, Feb 27: A Pakistani short film on the tribulation and courage of victims of acid attacks won a historic trophy at the Academy Awards this year, making its co-director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy the first from the country to win an Oscar.
The film 'Saving Face' by Daniel Junge and Chinoy, the first ever Pakistani film to be nominated for the prestigious award won the Documentary (Short Subject) Academy.
The film follows British plastic surgeon Dr Muhammad Jawad, who returns to his homeland to help victims of acid burns and performs reconstructive surgeries on survivors.
It also follows the story of a woman as she fights to see that the perpetrators of the crime are imprisoned for life. Chinoy dedicated the award to the women of Pakistan.
"All the women in Pakistan working for change, don't give up on your dreams, this is for you," she said.
The documentary was pitted against 'God Is the Bigger Elvis', a Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson film about a mid-century starlet who chose the church over Hollywood, and 'The Barber of Birmingham', a Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday film that follows the life of 85-year-old barber James Armstrong and the legacy of the civil rights movement.
Other contenders were James Spione's war film 'Incident in New Baghdad' and 'The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom', a film that follows survivors of Japan's 2011 earthquake and their struggle to recover from the catastrophic waves that crushed their homes and lives.
The documentary, which is filmed across Islamabad, Rawalpindi and the small towns of Punjab, was released in the US in November. It is due to release in the UK in March 2012, following which it will be released in Pakistan.
“The women who decided to be a part of the documentary did so because they wanted to make their voices heard and wanted to bring attention to this form of assault,” Chinoy said in an interview conducted before she won the Oscar.
“The main reason that they are in Saving Face is to make their stories heard and have an impact.” Many victims are women attacked by their husbands, and others assaulted for turning down a proposal of marriage. One girl in the documentary describes how she was burned after rejecting the advances of her teacher. She was 13 at the time.
Another woman featured in the film is 25-year-old Rukhsana, whose husband threw acid on her and her sister-in-law doused her in gasoline before her mother-in-law lit a match and set her on fire.
Chinoy said she hopes the cases in her film will resonate for others in Pakistan.
“It is a story of hope with a powerful message for the Pakistani audience. I felt this would be a great way to show how Pakistanis can help other Pakistanis overcome their problems,” she said.
Chinoy’s films have won international acclaim. Her 2010 documentary, Pakistan’s Taliban Generation, won an International Emmy Award.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
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