Global filmmaker, journalist and social activist
Born in Karachi in 1978, Sharmeen has arguably become one of the most articulate global story-tellers of her generation. Her film work aims at bringing attention to issues that societies find deeply uncomfortable to acknowledge, and then telling stories in ways that are compelling enough to impact on the underlying social and human distress. The jury selected Sharmeen because of her increasingly insistent and effective leadership not just in changing minds, but in addressing the facts that create outcomes that should be unacceptable in the 21st century.Sharmeen’s filmography is extensive; since 2000 she has made more than a dozen multi-award winning films in over 10 countries. Among her films are Saving Face (2012), A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers (2015) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).The impact of her films has been widely recognized by her peers, including by the awarding of two Academy Awards.
A Tällberg conversation, September 2018
Why do you do what you do?
That’s when I really realized that I don’t just make films, I can actually make films that can change the way that people look at an issue. It can influence the way people lobby for that issue.
How do you choose your issues?
What is the key to your ability to tell great stories?
What does the Eliasson Global Leadership Prize mean to you?
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's Bio
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is a Karachi-based journalist and filmmaker whose reports led to legislative changes in Pakistan. She is the only female director to have been awarded two Academy Awards by the age of 37. Since 2001, she has made over two dozen multi award films in over 16 countries around the world. Her films include Student Athlete,Girl in the river, Song of Lahore, Saving Face, Peace Keepers and Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret.
Her documentaries, which have won two Oscars, tackle abuse of women and children. Her “Frontline” documentary, “Children of the Taliban,” told of Pakistani boys who were groomed in Taliban-run schools to carry out attacks against civilians.
“Saving Face” focused on acid attacks on women. The film prompted Pakistan’s most populous province to process these cases through anti-terrorism courts to ensure speedier justice.
“A Girl in the River” explored an attempted “honor killing” of a young woman who married a man her family had not chosen. The film drew attention to a loophole which allowed these murders to go unpunished. Pakistan’s parliament then passed a law criminalizing honor killings.
In 2015, Sharmeen launched a mobile cinema in Pakistan, which travels across the country, screening films in small towns and villages and engaging the youth in meaningful conversations around women rights, religious diversity and tolerance.
Obaid-Chinoy also helped found the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a nonprofit, volunteer organization that fosters and promotes community-wide interest in the culture and history of Pakistan. Citizens Archive works with thousands of children, teaching critical thinking skills and instilling a sense of pride about their history and identity.
An activist filmmaker tackles patriarchy in Pakistan
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy documents women’s lives in the hope of combatting male power.