Pakistani journalist and documentarian Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s latest venture Saving Face has won an Oscar award under the category ‘Best Documentary, Short Subject’. In her acceptance speech, 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.
‘Saving Face’ chronicles the work of British Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad, who performed reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan. The documentary, which is filmed across Islamabad, Rawalpindi and the small towns of Punjab, 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.
“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.
“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.
Her 2010 documentary, Pakistan’s Taliban Generation, won an International Emmy Award.
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani announced a high civil award for Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on winning Oscar Award for her documentary film.