Posts Tagged ‘oscar’

Outreach Program On Acid Violence Starting With Youth And HEC…

April 16th, 2012
Myra Imran
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Islamabad: To build public opinion against acid crimes, the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Saving the Face’ by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will be released soon in Pakistan with translation in national and regional languages.

The information to this effect was shared during a panel discussion on ‘Acid attack and its effect on society.’ The discussion, attended by an audience of more than 150 university students and officials from across Pakistan, was sponsored jointly by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Aurat Foundation, and the Acid Survivors Foundation with the US support. Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, wife of US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, moderated the event.

The panel included Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Professor Hamid Hassan, a doctor who heads the burn unit at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi, Dr. Khadija Tahir, a psychotherapist that treats acid survivors, Barrister Naveed Muzaffar Khan, a lawyer who defends victims of acid attacks, and Executive Director of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Valerie Khan and Aurat Foundation representative and activist Samina Naz. HEC Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari also spoke on the occasion.

The panelists called for an end to acid attacks and other violence against women and urged all sections of society to come forward and demand strong legislation against the crime and its effective implementation. They said that to bring the change, the whole nation has to reject the acid crimes.

Sharing statistics, Executive Director Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Valerie Khan said that around 200 such attacks occur annually in the country with most of them reported in southern Punjab and northern Sindh. She said that 70 per cent of acid crime victims are women whereas 30 per cent are men and boys. “In 60 per cent of cases, the reason is domestic dispute,” she said.

Applauding the efforts of the Pakistani legislature to pass acid attack legislation, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt asked the attendees to work to end gender-based violence, specifically acid attacks. She said that the main objective of the event is to raise awareness among university students about the devastating effects of acid attacks and acid crimes on Pakistani society.

“Pakistan’s youth demographic represents 60 per cent of the nation’s citizenry, it is important that you sensitise yourself to this important issue so that your mothers, sisters, and daughters do not suffer from this gruesome crime,” she said.

Dr. Wyatt said that acid victims face acute physical and psychological sufferings; they lose their identity and are deprived of their relationships and friendships. “It is our responsibility to help these victims and play our role in the implementation of the legislation against the hideous crime.”

Sharmeen said that her achievement shows the power of telling story. “The stories of acid crime make headlines in the media but we actually fail to see what these victims have to go through once they survive the attack.” Giving credit to the acid crime survivors, she said that she was lucky to find the strong voices that were brave enough to break the silence. She stressed on the need for educating women about the existence of law against acid crime. “We need to take them out of the mindset that they are responsible for what happened to them,” she said.

Responding to a question asked by a university student regarding the fact that the documentary on acid victims has given Pakistan another bad headline in international media, Sharmeen said that the headline was always positive for Pakistan and was about a Muslim woman receiving the highest documentary-making award. “It has given the image of a country that has the courage to face and solve its problems,” she said. Her answer received appreciation from the young crowd, who expressed their consent with clapping.

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Global Fund For Children: ASF Partner: When Committment And Emotions Are Shared.

March 3rd, 2012

On The Road Blog

Film Based on ASF’s Work Wins Oscar

Valerie Khan of ASF

Washington, DC – I sat with my eyes glued to the screen for the 84th Academy Awards, anxiously awaiting the announcement of the best documentary short film. On the edge of my seat, I jumped up in excitement when Saving Face, directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, was announced as the winner. The documentary follows two survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan, covering their incredible journey toward recovery and their fight for justice. The film features the work of GFC grantee partner Acid Survivors Foundation, Pakistan (ASF), based in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Early last year, I met with Valerie Khan, the director of ASF, at a dinner in Islamabad hosted by Sameena Nazir, the director of GFC grantee partner Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy. I had arrived in Islamabad after a near crash on my plane ride from Delhi to Lahore. Shaken by the experience, I almost didn’t attend the dinner, but I am glad I did. Valerie’s commitment and passion for the mission of ASF were infectious and inspiring. The next day, we discussed ASF’s programs in detail and discovered that GFC and ASF were a very good match. ASF is one of the few organizations in Pakistan providing care and rehabilitation to survivors of acid attacks. The causes of acid attacks include refusal of sexual advances or marriage proposals, land disputes, religious fanaticism, and family revenge, among others.

The organization’s programs include a nursing care and rehabilitation unit that provides rehabilitation services to burn victims, a child protection program that promotes child rights, an awareness campaign called Burning Truth that utilizes art as a tool to bring public awareness and sustainable change to acid violence, and a capacity-building program that works to train other organizations on the rehabilitation of survivors of acid attacks. Additionally, ASF advocates for policy reforms within Pakistan to demand stricter laws for perpetrators and state-sponsored rehabilitation mechanisms for survivors. ASF’s beneficiaries are an excellent example of the vulnerable populations that GFC reaches through its many innovative community-based grantee partners all over the world.

News, Momentum For Gender Justice Through An Oscar

February 28th, 2012

Last updated: 37 mins ago

The women behind the Oscar

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, left, and Daniel Junge pose with their awards for best documentary short for “Saving Face” during the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. – AP Photo

KARACHI: Behind the glamour of Pakistan on the Academy Awards red carpet and the outpouring of excitement on television, Twitter and Facebook lies the bravery of the female subjects of Saving Face, who have to keep a low profile for their own security.

“Rukhsana says that if she has to bear the consequences [of the film], so be it,” says Bilquis, a staff member at the Acid Survivors Foundation in Islamabad, where the acid attack victims featured in co-director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Oscar-winning documentary had sought refuge.

Both Rukhsana and Zakia, the two women attacked by their husbands who played central roles in the film along with plastic surgeon Dr Mohammad Jawad, denied requests to speak to the media for fear of further victimisation. Contrary to some news reports, their spouses were never prosecuted for this crime.

According to Bilquis, who has been deeply involved in the two cases, Zakia’s husband threw acid on her outside a court house during divorce proceedings while he was in police custody for other domestic violence, indicating possible support from law-enforcement. For both women, participation has been an act of extreme courage.

Zakia’s family knows about her role in the documentary but isn’t pleased about it, and her brothers insisted she leave the ASF. Rukhsana is living with her husband again after a still-troubled reconciliation, and he is not aware of her participation in the film.

But Bilquis communicates Rukhsana’s jubilant reaction to the Oscar win, the first Academy Award won by a Pakistani. “When she participated in this film she thought it would mainly be shown abroad. But even though it has now become big news and might be shown here, she is still thrilled about it. She says it was a form of justice, and now other sisters will get justice too.”

Sunday’s win in the short documentary category for the 40-minute Saving Face, co-directed by American filmmaker Daniel Junge, has come as unbelievable news for the staff of the ASF, which was featured in the documentary, and the acid attack victims it tries to help through free housing, surgery, and legal aid.

“It’s difficult to believe,” says ASF chairperson Valerie Khan, barely able to contain her excitement on the phone from Islamabad. “It’s so big that I haven’t realised it yet. It’s a symbolic achievement: a woman who has fought for women’s rights. And it concentrates on hope, celebrating Pakistani citizens building a fairer society for tomorrow.”

But both her and women’s rights activist Fauzia Saeed point out that more progress still needs to be made, despite the passage in December of an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code that criminalises acid attacks.

They explain that two further pieces of legislation are in the works, being pushed by the ASF, civil society organisations and the human rights ministry. The Acid Control Bill would regulate the sale and distribution of acid. And while acid throwing has already been criminalised, the third piece of legislation, the Acid and Burn Crimes Bill, goes beyond punishing perpetrators and calls for a number of other reforms needed to prevent attacks and help victims rebuild their lives. These include rehabilitation services, measures to ensure independent investigations and just trials, funding for victims, and a monitoring system.

Meanwhile, the focus on Monday was on celebration, and not just at the ASF. “It’s been completely incredible,” Ms Obaid-Chinoy’s mother said in an interview with Dawn about her 33-year-old daughter’s achievement. “It’s absolutely amazing, a dream come true. Even though she won an Emmy last year, winning an Oscar — I don’t think we saw that coming at such a young age.”

And the film’s director of photography, Asad Faruqi, told Dawn that the win had justified why he does what he does. “This is the only reason we make documentary films: to highlight the issues and get people’s stories out. When it’s recognised, it gives us the motivation to venture into areas where we didn’t think we could go.”

“We are happy and proud on several levels,” Ms Saeed added. “The award was won by a woman, it is a Pakistani film, and this is an important issue. I hope it will create the impetus for the comprehensive legislation that is badly needed.”

Meanwhile, Ms Khan points to the crucial role that Rukhsana and Zakia have played. “They were instrumental to getting the criminalisation bill passed, because they were willing to speak up,” she says. “They were doing so before the film, and Saving Face has highlighted their work further. They are true agents of change.”

Cooperation Between ASF-Pakistan, ASTI And UN WOMEN…

February 28th, 2012

Pakistan’s First Oscar Win Explores Efforts to End Acid Violence in Pakistan

This year’s Best Short Documentary category at the Academy Awards has honoured a film from Pakistan about acid violence. Saving Face by directors Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Daniel Junge, follows the work of a British-Pakistani surgeon with the Acid Survivor Foundation (ASF), to provide free surgical services and support to victims of acid attacks.  It also explores the holistic ways in which ASF-Pakistan has been working to empower Pakistani women and eradicate acid violence with the support of UN Women, among other partners and donors.

In addition to its rehabilitation services, ASF-Pakistan lobbies for acid and burn legislation. The organization was actively involved in consultations, facilitated by a number of international partners, including UN Women, in the drafting of three laws on the issue. The first of these was unanimously passed and enacted in December 2011, and acid-throwing is now a crime against the state, punishable with a fine of one million rupees and a sentence from 14-years to life imprisonment.

Ending violence against women is one of the global priority areas of UN Women and the UN System, and the organization has long supported efforts towards eradicating it, which includes acid violence. In Cambodia, for example, work by Acid Survivors Trust Internationala grantee of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women – supports local organizations that work with burn survivors, and also lobbies for legislation and implementation at national and international levels.

The Oscar win for Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and her team, provides a dynamic platform and boost to the on-going national efforts  to have the Acid and Burn Crime Bill 2012 passed and implemented in Pakistan’s Provincial assemblies.

A Link With All Details Regarding Saving Face And The Outreach Program…

February 26th, 2012


Press Release

January 30th, 2012

Pakistan Film: Country’s First Oscar Nomination

January 27, 2012

Karachi, Pakistan.

A Pakistani film entitled SAVING FACE about survivors of acid attacks and the work of surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, Short Subject.  Karachi-based director/producer Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and US-based director/producer received the nominations on Tuesday.

“Daniel and I are very excited about the nomination and are eager to share the story of Saving Face with the world.”

SAVING FACE follows Dr. Jawad, a London-based reconstructive surgeon as he travels to his home in Pakistan to operate on patients attacked with acid.  The film also features the stories of survivors of attacks, particularly two women, Zakia and Rukhsana – both from Punjab province – as they struggle to find justice and heal emotionally and physically.  The film also features the work of Acid Survivors Foundation of Pakistan (ASF), an Islamabad-based NGO aiding survivors of acid attacks.

“This is a double celebration for Pakistan,” said Jawad of the recognition.  “A first for Pakistani filmmaker and moreover highlighting this terrible problem and the work I’ve been fortunate to do with the issue.”

SAVING FACE director/producer Obaid Chinoy has quickly become one of Pakistan’s most decorated filmmakers.  Among her other award-winning films, PAKISTAN’S TALIBAN GENERATION won an Emmy Award in 2010.

Also producing the film is veteran Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar.  Sumar brought fame to Pakistan with her debut feature film Khamosh Pani which won 17 international awards including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival and Dinner with the President that won the Anasy Best Documentary award.

A host of other Pakistanis also worked on the film including the film’s cameraman – Asad Faruqi, co-producer Fazeelat Aslam, and associate producer Shahbaz Sumar.

In 2008, Mir Zafar Ali, a Pakistani citizen was one of the ‘Effects Technical Director’  on Golden Compass that Best Visual Effects award. But Saving Face is the first film shot in Pakistan and directed by a Pakistani to be nominated for an Oscar.

Acid Survivors of Pakistan has documented over 150 acid attacks annually but assume the numbers are much higher as most crimes go unreported.  The majority of victims are women.  In 2010, following awareness campaigns from ASF, Pakistan’s Parliament enacted legislation dictating that acid violence is punishable by life imprisionment.

Obaid Chinoy points out that the success of SAVING FACE is due to its demonstration of Pakistanis successfully tackling this vexing Pakistani problem.

“This is more than an expose,” said Obaid Chinoy.  “This is a film demonstrating the bravery of Pakistanis confronting this problem, including the survivors themselves, with surprisingly hopeful results.”

“Acid violence is the worst form of violence that can be inflicted to any human being,” said Valerie Khan, Chairperson Acid Survivors Foundation, “We along with other numerous volunteers are committed to empowering the victims -mostly women and children- who, once turned into proactive autonomous survivors and democratic citizens, will join the momentum to ensure that acid violence is eradicated in Pakistan and that justice prevails.”

The Academy Awards are on February 26th and SAVING FACE will screen after them at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London.  The film was funded by HBO and UK Channel 4, who will be airing the film, respectively, in the US and UK.  No Pakistani broadcast has been committed at this time.

A portion of proceeds from the film are going to Acid Survivors Foundation, Islamic Help and the primary subjects of the film.


Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (

First Pakistani Nomination Ever For Oscar for “Saving Faces”, Thank You Daniel And Sharmeen, ASF Team, Dr Jawad And The Survivors!

January 25th, 2012

First Pakistani documentary-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy earns Oscar nomination

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 9:37:17 by


First Pakistani documentary-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy earns Oscar nomination

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the renowned journalist and documentary maker, has become first Pakistani to earn an Oscar nomination with her film ‘Saving face, which was named in the “Documentary-short film” category.

Obaid, who has documented numerous short films, won an Emmy award, back in 2010, for her documentary, ‘Pakistan Children of the Taliban.

Commenting about this unique achievement, she observed, “I am speechless. It has reaffirmed my belief. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you put quality work out there, it will be appreciated. I hope I can make Pakistan proud by bringing home an Oscar.”

The documentary, ‘Saving Face’ is the story of two women from South Punjab who became 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,” she had commented when her documentary was short-listed for nominations, back in October 2011.

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 project.

The documentary accounts the work of an acclaimed Pakistani-origin British plastic surgeon, Dr Muhammad Jawad, as he travels to Pakistan and performs reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid victims.

Acid violence, an extreme form of physical cruelty, is systemically describe in Pakistan; official statistics state that a hundred cases of acid violence are reported annually, though it is anticipated that the real figure is far bigger.

Due to structural inequalities, the women face immense difficulties to access the judicial system in addition to hoary cultural practices.

‘Saving Face’ is shot across twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and the small towns of Punjab. It will be on-aired in the US on March 8, at HBO, while it is due to release in the UK later that month, on selected cinemas, following which it will be released in Pakistan.

She is very brave and chooses stories that touch the heart and turns them into movies that break it. She covered many stories ranging from ranging from child abuse, violence against women, terrorism and natural disasters.

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Saving Faces Gets Preselected For Oscar Nomination: Let Us Keep Our Fingers Crossed!

October 19th, 2011

Charmaine Obayd Chinoy and Daniel Junge directing the movie SAVING FACES which features Dr Jawad’s role and ASF rehabilitation, advoccay and lobbying work, good news, good surprises, let us see the future scenario…!