Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge’s Oscar triumph for the documentary short film “Saving Face” has been cause for celebration in the Pakistani filmmaker’s home country.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced that Obaid-Chinoy would be receiving a civil award for her achievements on Monday, according to the Associated Press. She is the first Pakistani to win an Oscar.
“Saving Face” focuses on the work of London-based plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad who travels back to his homeland to treat the survivors disfigured by acid attacks, mostly women who were targeted by their own family members.
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The AP reported that in 2010, at least 8,000 acts of violence against women were recorded, including acid attacks, forced marriages and other abuses, as observed by The Aurat Foundation, a local nonprofit.
Jawad said, “They are the real heroes here. They have been ostracized from society following the terrible attacks that have been inflicted upon them. I merely try to restore God’s creation, which has been destroyed by such evil acts of human beings, in the best way I know how. I hope that awareness of the cause will help to eradicate this beast of a man-made disease from society,” according to Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
Obaid-Chinoy dedicated her Oscar to “all the women in Pakistan working for change,” reported the BBC. She added, “don't give up on your dreams - this is for you.”
The Pakistani government recently passed landmark legislation, increasing the punishment for acid attacks, with attackers facing imprisonment for 14 years to life, in addition to fines of around $12,000, according to the BBC.
Marvi Memon, a politician who was featured in the film, said, “We are extremely proud of Sharmeen - she is hardworking, capable and it is an honour for Pakistan that we have won an Oscar through her. She won and she embodies a beautiful woman of Pakistan - she is beautiful inside and out.”
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Below, Obaid-Chinoy talks about her path towards making the film.