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Acclaimed Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and her film “Saving Face” shortlisted for an Oscar nomination

Acclaimed Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and her film “Saving Face” shortlisted for an Oscar nomination

Saving Face, a film chronicling the work of a British Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr Mohammad Jawad, aiding victims of acid attacks in Pakistan as directed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Daniel Jung, has been shortlisted as one of eight documentaries from across the globe for nomination in the Best Documentary, Short Subject category as announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Saving Face is set to air on America’s premier television cable network HBO, in March 2012. Saving Face was filmed entirely in Pakistan in the Seraiki belt as well as in Rawalpindi, Karachi, Islamabad and its outskirts.

Speaking about this international achievement, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy said: “It still hasn’t quite sunk in that Saving Face has been shortlisted for an Oscar nomination. It is a huge honour for me and a tremendous feeling to know that this film, based in Pakistan, has been appreciated and acknowledge by a global jury – My co-director Daniel Junge and I are now keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the shortlist turns into a nomination come January 24th!”

Indeed in the documentary Saving Face, along with her other films, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy constantly seeks to set a new standard for cinema that furthers the art of nonfiction storytelling in Pakistan. With a formidable list of awards under her belt including a coveted Emmy Award for her film Pakistan’s Taliban Generation, Chinoys’ eponymous film company has garnered a reputation for producing content that extends boundaries and challenges audiences. From following the lives of child suicide bombers in Pakistan’s Taliban Generation, to bringing to light the plight of Iraqi refugees in, Iraq: The Lost Generation her films continue to highlight the voices of marginalized communities around the world. Now her recently launched Production Company intends to groom a new generation of directors, producers and writers who will be equipped with the skills and training to produce quality films for a Pakistani as well as an international audience. Sharmeen Obaid Films is currently editing, Taboo Beauty, a film about the transgender community in Pakistan for Channel 4, UK.

In 2001 the global view of terrorism and Muslims changed forever – and like the millions affected post 9/11, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, a then aspiring journalist turned to the medium of visual storytelling, with a decision to work as an investigative journalist and as a documentary filmmaker. Her vision has been to connect global audiences with the everyday lives of those alienated and marginalised across the world including Muslims women and children for instance, in a larger bid to reveal and question the concepts of identity, history and culture. To date, Sharmeen’s work has taken her to over ten countries around the world where amongst other things she has had the opportunity to connect with refugees, women’s advocate groups and human rights defenders.

Sharmeen started her career in journalism while enrolled at the prestigious Smith College where she read Economics and Government, while freelancing as a writer for newspapers in the United States and Canada. She later completed her post graduate degrees in International Policy Studies in 2003 andCommunication (Journalism) in 2004 from the Ivy League ranked Stanford University.

Her work as an international documentary producer and correspondent progressed in 2002 where she worked at New York Times Television till 2005while she was still enrolled at Stanford. Since then, Sharmeen has worked as a producer, director & reporter at Channel 4 (2004-2009), a director & reporter at PBS Frontline World (2004-2009) and at Al Jazeera International (2006-2007).Indeed Sharmeen was one of the first Muslim women to be broadcast on mainstream Western media.

A multi-faceted entrepreneur, Sharmeen started her eponymous film production company Sharmeen Obaid Films in 2006 where she continues to serve as director. Under her leadership, the company has produced over fourteen critically acclaimed films, all of which have been aired across international channels to global audiences including networks such as CNN, CBC, Channel 4, PBS Frontline World, Al Jazeera and HBO. Sharmeen is also the co-founder of Pakistan’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to cultural and historic preservation, The Citizen’s Archive of Pakistan and continues to serve as the company’s President and leading cultural preservationist since its founding in2007.  As a senior fellow at TED 2011 international, Sharmeen has also been one of the driving forces behind the locally organised Tedx Karachi events in both 2010 and 2011 where she reached out to iconic personalities such as Imran Khan and Mukhataran Mai, to share their stories of inspiration.

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