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Women Standouts in Film

Kris Slava
March, 2012 

In a previous issue of JUST we cited reports that the percentage of female directors in Hollywood fell drastically in 2011 from 7% to 5%.  Despite that, female directors continue to make a significant impact.  2011/12 has brought some notable, and meaningful accolades.   

This year’s Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject went to Pakistani Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and her co-director Daniel Junge, for their film Saving Face. The film is about plastic surgeons trying to help Pakistani women who have been the victims of acid attacks by spurned lovers or vindictive husbands. 

Since Obaid-Chinoy is the first Pakistani to receive an Oscar, this helps insure that the film will not be discounted inside Pakistan. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared that Obaid-Chinoy will get a civil award for her accomplishment. Chinoy previously won an International Emmy Award for her documentary Pakistan’s Taliban Generation.

At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Lebanese Director/Actor Nadine Labaki received the Cadillac People’s Choice Award for Where Do We Go Now?, a dramatic fable about the difficulties of Christians and Muslims coexisting in a small village. Labaki takes a surprising, playful approach to her serious subject matter.  The women of the village stop at nothing to defuse their men, even resorting to hashish and Ukranian strippers.

Watch for both films– Saving Face will be shown on HBO in March and Where Do We Go Now? will be screened at New York’s New Directors/New Films and be released theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics.

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