Pakistani journalist and documentarian Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s latest venture Saving Face has been shortlisted for Oscar nominations under the category ‘Best Documentary, Short Subject’.
Recipient of Emmy award for her documentary Pakistan: Children of the Taliban in 2010, Obaid is now hoping to make it to the Oscar nominations list which will be announced on January 24. The final awards will be announced on February 26, 2012.
Saving Face is a story of two women from Southern Punjab who are victims of acid violence. “It’s a positive story about Pakistan on two accounts: firstly, it portrays how a Pakistani-British doctor comes to treat them and it also discusses, in great depth, the parliament’s decision to pass a bill on acid violence,” explains Obaid-Chinoy. According to the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill, the perpetrators of acid violence will be punished with imprisonment for life, and Obaid-Chinoy has captured that aspect in her latest venture.
The documentary, which is filmed across Islamabad, Rawalpindi and the small towns of Punjab, is scheduled to be released in the US next month and then in the UK in March in 2012, following which it will be released in Pakistan. When asked why her documentaries are so hard to find here in Pakistan, Obaid-Chinoy states, “There is really no documentary market here in Pakistan. Documentaries are not produced on a large scale.”
However, bursting with excitement that her documentary is shortlisted for an Oscar, she adds, “You can come from anywhere but if you produce quality work, you will be noticed and appreciated.”
Obaid-Chinoy began her career with New York Times Television in 2002 where she produced Terror’s Children, a film about Afghan refugee children, which won her the Overseas Press Club Award, the American Women and Radio and Television Award and the South Asian Journalist Association Award. Since then, she has produced more than 12 films around the world. Obaid-Chinoy also became the first non-American to win the Livingston Award for International Reporting in 2004, according to www.imow.org.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2011.