Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy blazed onto world stage

Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy blazed onto world stage when her documentary “Saving Face” about acid attack victims won an Oscar award at the lavish Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood that is certain to help improve Pakistan’s battered international image.
Actresses Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy presented the coveted award to co-directors Ms Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge in the category of Best Documentary (Short) before a large gathering of top world artists on Sunday night, an event watched by hundreds of millions around the globe on television. In her accepting speech, Ms Obaid-Chinoy, dedicated the award to the courageous women of Pakistan. “All the women in Pakistan working for change, don’t give up on your dreams, this is for you,” she said, holding up the award statuette as a resounding applause rang out in the packed hall.
Ms Obaid-Chinoy, in a Pakistani dress tailored by female designers, also paid tributes to “all the heroes working on the ground in Pakistan” including Pakistani-British plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad, who was also present at the ceremony hosted by actor comedian Billy Crystal.
“Saving Face” tells the story of Dr Jawad, who travelled to Pakistan to treat acid attack victims. It was the first time that a Pakistani documentary was nominated by the academy and subsequently won the coveted award.
Central characters of this documentary are two women, Zakia and Rukhsana, from southern Punjab who survived acid attacks and have been fighting for justice ever since. Instead of only portraying the misery of the victims, the film focuses on the vigour with which they endure the process of emotional and physical healing.
Co-directing this film with Junge of Britain, Ms Obaid-Chinoy, previously won an Emmy Award for her film Pakistan’s Taliban Generation. This film was also the recipient of the Alfred Dupont Award and the Association for International Broadcasting Award. Obaid-Chinoy is the first non-American to receive the Livingston Award for best international reporting. In 2007, she received the broadcast journalist of the year award in the UK from One World Media for her work in a series of documentary films. For her work on other films, she also received the Overseas Press Club Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Cine Golden Eagle Award and the Banff Rockie Award.
“Above all, this documentary, along with its accolades, is truly a testimony of the devotion and fervour with which Sharmeen, Dr Jawad, Zakia and Rukhsana are pursuing their individual goals,” The Washington Times wrote ahead of tonight’s ceremony. “‘Saving Face’ brings together the hard work and creativity of an ambitious documentarian, the dedication of a passionate doctor, and determination of valiant victims of acid attacks,” the newspaper said,
“The Oscar nod for Saving Face recognises of a Pakistani filmmaker and sends message to all the ambitious Pakistanis and the world that hard work pays off, no matter where you live and your passion to prevail over the crisis can take you places whether you are a filmmaker, a doctor or a survivor.”
Dr Jawad made several trips to Pakistan with surgical teams to work with the victims. He also organised a major medical relief effort to help earthquake survivors in Pakistan in 2005. In 2008, he received widespread public and international media attention when he performed his pioneering treatment on British model and television presenter Katie Piper, whose ex-boyfriend threw acid on her face.
“The film also emerges as a face-saver for Pakistan, amid growing negative perceptions about the country worldwide,” commented The Washington Times said.
When asked about her dress before the ceremony, Ms Obaid-Chinoy said, “I am wearing Bunto Kazmi for the ceremony and will be wearing Sana Safinaz and Saniya Maskatiya for Oscar-related events. My jewellery will be done by Kiran Aman of Kiran Fine Jewellery and Sherezad Rahimtoola of Labels. I am really excited to showcase local Pakistani talent, and that too all women.”

Spell Bounder

I'm journalist in Pakistan,And working in this field about 20 years.