It is always gratifying when one works gets recognized especially when it aims towards raising awareness and making a difference. Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, won the 2016 Oscar for Best Documentary on a Short Subject. Her documentary “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” sheds light on a very brutal truth that many societies face; “honor killing”.
Her film revolves around the true story of a young teenage girl Saba in Pakistan, who defies her family’s order into an arranged marriage and marrying the man she fell in love with instead. Her father and uncle attempt to murder her, drive her to the river’s edge, beat her, shoot her in the head, and after stashing her in a sack throw her into the river. Only the young girl does not die and sets herself free. The movie portrays the difficult road of fighting and justice.
There is no justification for such a horrendous crime that at many times goes unpunished in the name of saving a family’s honor. Obaid-Chinoy hopes that her movie will be an eye opener to many and help in changing laws that are more just towards women’s rights.
During her Oscar acceptance speech, Obaid-Chinoy proudly announced, “This week the Pakistani Prime Minister has said that he will change the law on ‘honor killing’ after watching this film. That is the power of film.”
This is the power of a woman working towards changing mindsets for the better.
The documentary will premier on HBO on March 7