Monday, February 27, 2012

"Saving Face" takes Oscar® for Best Documentary Short

Saving Face tells the stories of two acid-attack survivors: Zakia, a 39-year old whose husband threw acid on her after she filed for divorce, and Rukhsana, a 25-year-old whose husband and in-laws threw acid and gasoline on her, then set her on fire.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, put his London practice on hold to return to his home country to help Zakia, Rukhsana and other victims. Proving that attack by sulphuric acid is neither isolated nor unique to Pakistan and south Asia, Dr. Jawad made news for restoring the face of British model Katie Piper, victim of an acid-throwing in London in 2008. But key to a crucial disparity in cultures is that Ms Piper's attackers are serving life in prison, and she has found her way back, however excruciatingly, to a fruitful life.

Nicholas Kristoff has been trying to bring attention to this barbarity for some years, writing in the New York Times that in spite of intermittent and wan efforts at increased controls, it is still “easy in Asia to walk into a shop and buy sulfuric or hydrochloric acid suitable for destroying a human face.” Says Kristoff, “The first step is simply for the world to take note, to give voice to these women.”

Directed by Oscar® and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Daniel Junge and Emmy®-winning Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Saving Face is a powerful look inside Pakistani society, and the ongoing legal and political efforts to allow desperately needed change. “We want to dedicate this award to all the heroes on the ground working in Pakistan,” said Ms. Obaid-Chinoy.

Saving Face  airs in the United States and Canada on HBO, Thursday, March 8, at 8:30 pm.