‘Saving Face’ Documentary Shines Light on Acid Attacks

Mike Krumboltz
Coverage of The 84th Annual Academy Awards®
27 February 2012
WireImage
WireImage

It's easy to think of the Oscars as just an evening of self-congratulatory fluff. But every once in a while, the Academy pays attention to a film with the power to really change lives. Pakistan's "Saving Face," this year's winner for Best Documentary Short, is one of those rare achievements.

The 40-minute documentary focuses on the senseless acid attacks against women in Pakistan. Each year, more than a hundred women have acid thrown in their faces, ruining their lives and causing both physical and emotional devastation. The film, which will air on HBO on March 8, focuses on two of these women, as well as plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad who returns to his homeland to help the victims in their recovery.

After the film's victory at the Oscars, a first for Pakistan, co-director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, 33, gave a stirring speech in which she dedicated the film to "all the women in Pakistan who are working for change." She continued, "Don't give up on your dreams." Sandra Bullock appeared to be near tears during the speech. American Daniel Junge was the film's co-director.

Web interest in the film immediately jumped after the Oscar win. Yahoo! searches for the film surged an astounding 3,362%. Related lookups on "saving face oscar" and "saving face documentary" posted impressive gains as well. Clearly people wanted to understand more about the history of the attacks and the reasoning, however twisted, behind them.

According to the film, the majority of the attacks are carried out by enraged husbands or rejected suitors. The AP reports that in 2010, at least 8,000 incidents of violence against women, including forced marriages, were reported in Pakistan. That number is likely low, as some victims do not report the crimes. Some victims of acid attacks stay with their husband-attackers out of fear for their children.

While the Academy Award is as prestigious an award as any filmmaker can receive, Obaid-Chinoy and Junge can probably take even more pride in the fact that their creation is raising awareness about a shocking kind of violence. And even though the film doesn't put Pakistan in a positive light, the country's prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, says the nation would confer on Obaid-Chinoy "the highest civilian award upon her return," according to MSNBC.

Check out some of the most popular Oscar moments:

Mike Krumboltz is a senior editor at Yahoo!, where he writes about a variety of topics including politics and pop culture.

What to read next

15 Cancer Causing Foods You Probably Eat Every Day

Do you eat any of these cancer causing foods? Number 12 will surprise you. Check out the list now.

Grace Chan: I am naturally thin!

Symptoms and Treatments for Prostate Cancer

The 5-Year survival rate for prostate cancer is almost 100%. Learn what to watch for and search for prostate cancer treatments here.

The Most Common Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Learn What Bipolar Is and What It Isn't... Search For The Most Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder - Here

Single-family homes in Winchester area from $300s

Snowden Bridge - Winchester’s best-selling amenity-filled community. Great commuter location—close to I-81 & Rt 7, shopping & restaurants

Tianyo Ma apologises for public urination

"I spent 35 years as a cop and I love this."

Tech experts call it “better, smarter home security.” Cops use it in stings to catch criminals. Meet SimpliSafe.

13 Ways to Get Him to Fall For You

The following 13 tips — as told by popular songs — will help you take him from casual acquaintance to No. 1 lover in no time.