Sharmeen Obaid wins second Oscar award

sh.obaidThe filmmaker won for her documentary A Girl in the River, which sheds light on honour killing in Pakistan
Just minutes ago Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy made history as the only Pakistani to win two Oscar awards.

Sharmeen was awarded the Oscar in the category Best Documentary – Short Subject for her documentary A Girl in the River, which follows the life of an 18-year-old girl who is a survivor of an honour killing attempt.

Wearing a floor-length black Sana Safinaz coat over a matching dress, Sharmeen had earlier walked the red carpet with her mother and the SOC Films team.

“I have another one!” said Sharmeen as she took the stage to accept the award, her second after she won an Academy Award for Saving Face in 2012.

“This is what happens when determined women get together,” continued Sharmeen. “From Saba, the girl in my film who remarkably survived honor killing and shared her story, to Sheila Nevins, Lisa Heller from HBO and Tina Brown who supported me from day one. To the men who champion women, like Geof Bartz who has edited the film to Asad Faruqi, to my friend Ziad who brought this film to the government, to all the brave men out there like my father and husband who push women to go to school and work and who want a more just society for women!”

“This week the Pakistani PM said he would change the law on honor killing after watching this film — that is the power of film!” said Sharmeen in closing.

Sharmeen has been in Los Angeles for the past week in preparation for the Academy Awards, arguably Hollywood’s biggest night of the year. Sharmeen had previously said that while she was excited by the prospect of winning another Oscar, she would consider her work on the documentary a ‘real’ success if she managed to help convince stakeholders to pass the Anti-Honour Killing bill.

Sharmeen definitely caught the government’s attention with A Girl in the River — the film was screened at the PM House in Islamabad just last week. Following that, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that honour killing was a critical issue and voiced his government’s determination to eradicate this practice from society.

Just a few hours before her win Sharmeen had stated in a Facebook post: “In just a few hours the team of A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness will walk the red carpet at the Oscars! Whether we win or lose today we should be very proud of the fact that this film has ignited a national discourse about honor killings in Pakistan and has spurred the government to work on tougher legislation! That achievement shows that we are maturing as a democracy and today I’m so very honored and humbled that we have been able to move the needle on this issue.” -Dawn

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