Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pakistani Documentary wins an Oscar!

“Saving Face” wins at the 84th Academy Awards

‘Saving Face’, co-directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge, brought home the first Oscar for Pakistan by winning in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center. It is based on the appalling incidents of acid attacks on women in Pakistan.

Incidentally, one of the producers of the film is Sabiha Sumar, well known in India, who directed the film “Khamosh Pani” starring Kirron Kher, which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.

‘Saving Face’ tells the stories of two acid-attack survivors: Zakia and Rukhsana, their arduous attempts to bring their assailants to justice, and the charitable work of London-based, Pakistani-born plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who strives to help these women put this horrific act behind them and move on with their lives. Every year in Pakistan, at least 100 people are victimized by brutal acid attacks. The majority of these are women, and many more cases go unreported. With little or no access to reconstructive surgery, survivors are physically and emotionally scarred, while many reported assailants – typically a husband or someone close to the victim – are let go with minimal punishment from the state. ‘Saving Face’ has been instrumental in raising the punishment for this heinous act to that of life imprisonment.

Directed by Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Daniel Junge and Emmy-winning Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, “Saving Face” takes an intimate look at Pakistani society, illuminating each woman’s personal journey while showing how reformers are tackling their deeply distressing problem. The film chronicles the work of acclaimed British-Pakistani plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who travels around the country to perform reconstructive surgery on the attacked women and help them move on with their lives. Produced by Davis Coombe, Alison Greenberg, Sabiha Sumar, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The executive producers are Lisa Heller and Sheila Nevins of HBO Documentary Films’. The film will air in the US and Canada on HBO on March 8, 2012. In the UK, it airs in April. It will premiere at the Human Rights Film Festival on March 28th in London.

A former journalist, Sharmeen, walked the red carpet accompanied by her co-director Daniel Junge, and dedicated the win to the women in Pakistan working for change. In her acceptance speech she added, “Don’t give up on your dreams, this is for you!”