March 16th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Directors of "Saving Face" - a model for diplomacy

By Kiran Khalid, CNN

When Pakistani journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and American filmmaker Daniel Junge won the 2012 Oscar for the best documentary short at the Academy Awards, they didn’t just achieve a professional milestone, they made history. Within minutes of the monumental win (Pakistan’s first), the name of the film, “Saving Face”, about women who are victims of acid attacks, was trending on Twitter along with Obaid-Chinoy’s name. Pakistani media catapulted the 33 year-old filmmaker from reporter to rock star in the time it takes to tear open an envelope.

Daniel Junge says once he learned about his co-fillmmaker’s background, he was certain that “Saving Face” needed Obaid-Chinoy to succeed.

“We would not have the film we have if it were not for her,” Junge told CNN. “Not only the intimacy of the film but her investigative journalism skills, the ability to go anywhere in Pakistan to dig up stories. This film wouldn’t be the same without her.”

Obaid-Chinoy whose films include Children of the Taliban (with Dan Edge), The Lost Generation (about Iraqi exiles) and Afghanistan Unveiled said she wasn’t accustomed to having a co-director but it was a good match. “It was the right partnership and it got the stories out, and it got women’s voices amplified which we both wanted,” Obaid-Chinoy said.

Two filmmakers from two continents with one goal: Shedding light on a crime that’s often veiled like the women who are its victims. The fact that the two filmmakers came from two countries fraught with diplomatic misunderstandings was not lost on them as they reflected on an unlikely partnership. During a whirlwind week after the Academy Awards, the two Oscar winners stopped by CNN’s New York bureau where they spoke to me about the genesis and impact of their historic collaboration. Check out the video above.

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Topics: Culture • Pakistan • United States

soundoff (One Response)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Acid attacks on women' faces have been committed by men in some Muslim countries, who felt jilted. An eye for an eye punishment might be appropriate for stopping this kind of pernicious acts.

    March 16, 2012 at 8:11 am | Reply

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