Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the only woman of colour to date to win an Oscar for her documentary film “A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness.”
The film highlights the issue of honour killings in Pakistan. It is about the story of an 18-year-old woman, Saba, who was shot by her relatives to redeem their family honour and was dumped into a river. She miraculously survived to tell her story.
Honour killing of women still remains a neglected subject in Pakistan. It resulted from strong patriarchal views on women in the country. The film hopes to revise a barbaric law that allows family members to murder women.
“This week, the Pakistani Prime Minister has said that he will change the law on honour killing after watching this film,” she said. “That is the power of film.”
During her speech in the Oscars, she also made it clear that films like hers are only achieved if women work to make them happen.
“This is what happens when determined women get together,” she said as she accepted the award.
Her competition included Toronto-based journalist Adam Benzine, up for his short film “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
She has also won two Emmy Awards, an International Emmy Award for 2010 Current Affairs documentary Pakistan’s Taliban Generation and Saving Face according to CBC podcast. Her Oscar win for Best Documentary for Saving Face made her the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award in 2012, the BBC reports. Saving Face is about the problem of acid attacks on women in Pakistan.
Obaid-Chinoy was born in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. After completing her A-Levels from Karachi Grammar School, she went to the United States. She then received a master’s in communication and a master’s in International Policy Studies while having postgraduate studies at Stanford University. She belongs to Ismaili business community of Karachi. Her family owns the Pakistan Cable company in Pakistan.