Saving Face

Over 100 acid attacks are reported every year in Pakistan, many more go unreported. The assailant is usually a husband or another member of the family. The film follows several survivors, their fight for justice and healing. Saving Face won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

Trailer with English subtitles.

2012 – 40 min – documentary
Directed by: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Language: Urdu, English
Subtitles: English, Czech
Format: DVD

Every year in Pakistan, many people – the majority of them women – are known to be victimized by brutal acid attacks, while numerous other cases go unreported. With little or no access to reconstructive surgery, survivors are physically and emotionally scarred. Many reported assailants, often a husband or someone else known by the victim, receive minimal if any punishment from the state.

Saving Face chronicles the lives of acid-attack survivors Zakia and Rukhsana as they attempt to bring their assailants to justice and move on with their lives. The women are supported by NGOs, sympathetic policymakers, and skilled doctors, such as Islamic Help, plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who returns to his home country to assist them, attorney Ms. Sarkar Abbass who fights Zakia’s case, and female politician Marvi Memon who advocates for new legislation. Saving Face is an intimate look inside Pakistani society, illuminating each woman’s personal journey while showing how reformers are tackling this horrific problem.

Saving Face won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject), making its director Pakistan’s first Oscar winner.

About the directors

Daniel Junge is an Oscar award winning documentary filmmaker. His first feature-length film, CHIEFS, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and broadcast nationally on PBS. His subsequent feature, IRON LADIES OF LIBERIA premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and aired on over 50 broadcasters worldwide including PBS and the BBC. THEY KILLED SISTER DOROTHY, his third feature film, won the Audience and Grand Jury Prizes at the South by Southwest Film Festival before broadcasting on HBO and earning a 2010 Emmy nomination for Best Investigative Journalism. Junge’s film THE LAST CAMPAIGN OF GOVERNOR BOOTH GARDNER was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 2010.

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Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is an Emmy and Oscar award winning documentary filmmaker. She has worked in over ten countries to produce internationally acclaimed films including PAKISTAN’S TALIBAN GENERATION, which is the recipient of the Alfred I Dupont Award and the Association for International Broadcasting award. Her other films include AFGHANISTAN UNVEILED and a series of documentaries for Channel 4 for which she was awarded Broadcast Journalist of the Year by One World Media, UK. She is the first non-American to receive the Livingston Award for International Reporting and is a TED Senior fellow.

Visit Sharmeen’s website: