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‘Saving Face’ wins Oscar for Best Documentary Short

Pakistani documentary maker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s ‘Saving Face’ has won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short at the 84th Academy Awards, held in Los Angeles Sunday night.  

The film is the first from Pakistan to have been nominated in any category at the Oscars and follows British-Pakistani surgeon Mohammad Jawad as he performs reconstructive surgery on acid attack victims in the country.

It is also the first Oscar recognition for Obaid-Chinoy who is already an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. 

The victory sheds light on a little known subject which affects hundreds of Pakistani women every year and the extraordinary work done by Mr Jawad who is best known in Britain for performing a groundbreaking reconstructive procedure on former model and acid attack victim Katie Piper.

Chinoy dedicated the award to the women of Pakistan, saying their “bravery and resilience in the face of adversity inspires me every single day.  They are the true heroes of Pakistan.”

Co-director Daniel Junge said he had the idea for the film after hearing about Jawad, and asked Chinoy to work with him.

“To win … and with such a subject — it’s such an honor,” he said.

According to the Paistani government around 100 people, mostly women and young girls, suffer horrific injuries in acid attacks every year.  Activists however say the figure is much higher as most cases go unreported.  

According to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters, Pakistan is the world’s third-most dangerous country for women, after Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Victims are often permanently blinded, and their scar tissue can become infected with septicemia or gangrene.

– Vijitha Alles

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