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Sharmeen wins first Oscar for Pakistan

Karachi, Mon, 27 Feb 2012 ANI

Karachi, Feb 27 (ANI): Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has won an Academy Award for her documentary about acid attack victims, becoming the first person from the country to win an Oscar.


In her acceptance speech, and first-time Oscar nominee Chinoy dedicated the award to the women of Pakistan.


"All the women in Pakistan working for change, don't give up on your dreams, this is for you," the News quoted her as saying.


Directed by Daniel Junge and produced by Chinoy, the film follows British plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who returns to his homeland to help victims of acid burns.


More than 100 people, mainly women and girls, are disfigured in acid attacks every year in Pakistan, although groups helping survivors say many more cases go unreported.


"The women who decided to be a part of the documentary did so because they wanted to make their voices heard and wanted to bring attention to this form of assault," Chinoy said in an interview conducted before she won the Oscar.


"The main reason that they are in 'Saving Face' is to make their stories heard and have an impact," she added.


Many victims are women attacked by their husbands, and others assaulted for turning down a proposal of marriage. One girl in the documentary describes how she was burned after rejecting the advances of her teacher. She was 13 at the time.


Another woman featured in the film is 25-year-old Rukhsana, whose husband threw acid on her and her sister-in-law doused her in gasoline before her mother-in-law lit a match and set her on fire.


Chinoy said she hopes the cases in her film will resonate for others in Pakistan.


"It is a story of hope with a powerful message for the Pakistani audience. I felt this would be a great way to show how Pakistanis can help other Pakistanis overcome their problems," she asserted. (ANI)


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