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Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Oscar Win For Pakistani-Canadian Who Says She Has Struggled To Make Films In Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated renowned Canadian Actor Christopher Plummer this morning for his Oscar win in Hollywood last night but his press release was mum on another winner with Canadian ties.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a Pakistani-Canadian also won a golden statue for her documentary "Saving Face." The short film is about women in her home country disfigured after their husbands’ attacked them with acid.

Obaid-Chinoy, according to a 2006 article in the Toronto Star, lives in the York Mills area of Toronto with her husband. She told the newspaper she tried to make films in Canada but found the National Film Board process too cumbersome. She also at one point reached out to the CBC to get funding, but the public broadcaster didn’t bite. Instead, Al Jazeera International gave her the funds to produce "Highway of Tears," a documentary about Aboriginal women in Canada who have gone missing around B.C.’s highway 16.

Obaid-Chinoy told the Star she came to Canada after getting married. "It seemed like the kind of country where there were no stories for me — no human rights violations, no women subjugated. But when you live in a country, then you understand its issues," she said.

"Highway of Tears," her film about aboriginal women in Canada was released in 2006. She approached the CBC with a proposal but they didn't respond. Al Jazeera International, however, did and ended up funding the project.

"I'd like to do a film in Canada," she told the newspaper, "but it's too difficult. National Film Board funding takes too long, and there's too much paperwork; by the time the film is approved the topic is dead and gone."

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