Director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is no stranger to tackling difficult material in her work. Her documentary films Saving Face, which chronicled the suffering of acid attack victims and made Chinoy Pakistan’s first Oscar-winner, and A Girl in the River, which addressed honor killings, have each won her an Academy Award. Chinoy, in an interview with The Guardian, noted how how A Girl In The River is continuing to strike a chord in Pakistan, a country where gender dynamics are very much a the center of its culture wars.
“A Girl in the River has incredibly positive messages in it, too,” Chinoy told The Guardian. “A policeman who is a hero, a doctor who is a hero, a lawyer who is a hero. Am I glad international pressure forces society to confront an issue so horrific? Absolutely. If this is what it is going to take, I will work on that for the rest of my life.” While the film, which tells the story of a father who shot his daughter who had eloped and left her for dead in a river, has opened up a much-needed conversation, a screening on a college campus demonstrated the great divide that still exists between the genders on the topic. “The boys and girls sat on different sides — the boys cheered the father, the girls cheered Saba,” Chinoy said.
Chinoy says that type of mentality worries her that there will be more attempts to silence her work, of which she has much planned. She said she’s going to be working on more than a dozen films, which will counsel women on “how to file a police report, how to get a divorce, how to report rape, where you can go if the police won’t file your case,” among other topics.
“It is very hard to be a woman in Pakistan and speak your mind. You know there will be an attempt to silence you,” she said. “And the more people do that with me, the more I know I am being successful.”
In April, Chinoy appeared at the 8th Annual Women in the World New York Summit and discussed the film and the impact it’s had. Watch the full interview below.
Read the full story at The Guardian.