Saving face, saving lives | Arts & Culture

Saving face, saving lives

Saving face, saving lives

Congressman John Lewis speaking to students at Hill Auditorium. Photo by Mark Gjukich.

By Candice Liepa

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a former winner of the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, won an Oscar Award on Sunday (Feb. 26) for her short documentary “Saving Face.” The national journalism awards program, which recognizes promising young journalists, is administered through the University of Michigan’s Knight-Wallace Fellows program.

“Saving Face,” which Obaid-Chinoy co-directed with Daniel Junge, chronicles the disfiguring acid attacks against women that occur in Pakistan. Typically, husbands, suitors or relatives commit the crime against women, and the perpetrators are seldom prosecuted. Obaid-Chinoy’s film includes interviews with women who are the victims of the attacks as well as a British-Pakistani doctor who is helping the women with reconstructive surgery. The award marks the first time a Pakistani director has won an Oscar.

Obaid-Chinoy received the 2004 Livingston Award for her documentary, “Reinventing the Taliban,” broadcast on the Discovery Channel. She traveled to Northwest Pakistan and interviewed leaders and supporters of the growing fundamental Islamic movement in Pakistan. The leaders she spoke with openly talked about creating a Taliban-like regime in Pakistan that would limit civil liberties and strictly restrict the rights of women.

Candice Liepa is Livingston Administrator and Wallace House Conference and Events Coordinator at the University of Michigan.