Pakistan’s first Oscar belongs to a monumental campaign that is changing the legal, social and political fate of survivors of acid-related violence. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary Saving Face brought Pakistan’s acid-violence problem to the world stage. Today she is bringing the film’s message to towns and villages in Pakistan through an educational-awareness campaign. Her film not only gave her subjects sympathy and understanding but, more important, gave them dignity. The “victims” in Saving Face are some of the strongest, most impressive women you will ever come across. She showed us their scars, and we saw their true beauty.
Obaid-Chinoy, 33, is also shaping the dialogue on Pakistan. Saving Face depicts a Pakistan that is changing — one where ordinary people can stand up and make a difference and where marginalized communities can seek justice. New legislation spearheaded by female parliamentarians will impose stricter sentencing on perpetrators of acid-related violence. This is a huge step forward.
Giving voice to those who cannot be heard, Obaid-Chinoy has made over a dozen award-winning films in more than 10 countries. She celebrates the strength and resilience of those fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds — and winning.
I dare anyone to watch this film and not be moved to tears and inspired into action.
Written by: Angelina Jolie (Hollywood actress and director)