Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

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Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
شرمین عبید چنائے
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Obaid-Chinoy at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2013
Born (1978-11-12) 12 November 1978 (age 36)
Karachi, Pakistan
Residence Karachi, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Occupation Documentary filmmaker
Known for Saving Face for winning an Oscar
Religion Islam
Website Official website

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (Urdu: شرمین عبید چنائے‎; born 12 November 1978) is a Pakistani journalist and documentary filmmaker.[1][2] She won an Academy Award for her documentary, Saving Face in 2012[3] and became the first Pakistani to win an Oscar.[4] She won an Emmy for her documentary, Pakistan: Children of the Taliban in 2010.[5][6] She is also the first non-American to win the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.[6][7]

She has been lauded as Pakistan's first Oscar winner by the press and government.[8][9][10]

The Pakistani president conferred the Hilal-e-Imtiaz on Obaid-Chinoy on 23 March 2012, for bringing honor to Pakistan as a filmmaker.[11] Time magazine named Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy in their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2012.[12][13][14][15][16] Sharmeen was ranked 37th on’s list of the 50 Coolest Desis of 2009.

Early life[edit]

Obaid-Chinoy was born in Karachi, to Muslim, Urdu speaking parents, Sheikh Obaid, the CEO of Toweller's Factory and Saba Obaid. She attended the Karachi Grammar School. She received her B.A. from Smith College in 2002.


Obaid-Chinoy began writing investigative pieces at the age of 14 as a way to contribute to critical conversation in Pakistan. She was always interested in telling stories of marginalized communities; people whose voices were never heard and whose compelling stories needed to be shared. She continued to pursue journalism while she was at Smith and wrote for a number of Canadian and American publications.

In December 2001, Obaid-Chinoy returned to Pakistan and spent time in refugee camps and went back to the US with a documentary proposal in hand. At the age of 22, with no prior experience, she sent letters to 80 news companies and organizations in the US, and was declined by all of them. Eventually, Bill Abrams, the president of New York Times Television gave her big break. She returned to Pakistan to produce Terror's Children.[17]

Obaid-Chinoy was a faculty member in the media sciences department at SZABIST (Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and technology, Karachi). She started her film company, SOC Films, in Karachi in November 2011.[18] Obaid-Chinoy is also the president of The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), a non-profit organization dedicated to cultural and historic preservation.[19]

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is an Academy Award and Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker. Her recent films include Saving Face, Transgender: Pakistan's Open Secret, and Pakistan's Taliban Generation, which aired on PBS, Channel 4, CBC, SBS and Arte and was the recipient of the Alfred I Dupont Award and the Association for International Broadcasting award. Sharmeen has made over a dozen multi-award winning films in over 10 countries around the world. She is the first non-American to be awarded the Livingston Award for best international reporting. In 2012 Time Magazine included her in the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

In 2007, Sharmeen was awarded the broadcast journalist of the year award in the UK by One World Media for her work in a series of documentary films for Channel 4, which included a film about xenophobia in South Africa: The New Apartheid and Afghanistan Unveiled Her other films have been awarded the Overseas Press Club Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Cine Golden Eagle award and the Banff Rockie Award.

Sharmeen’s work centers around human rights and women’s issues and she has worked with refugees and marginalized communities from Saudi Arabia to Syria and from Timor Leste to the Philippines.[20]

In May 2012, from more than 4300 entries in 10 categories, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's Transgender: Pakistan's Open Secret won the Platinum Remi Award at the 45th WorldFest Film Festival.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy was acknowledged with a Lux Style Achievement award on the 11th Lux Style Awards. (The Lux Style Awards are widely acknowledged to be the Oscars of Pakistan.) She is the youngest-ever recipient for the Lux Style Achievement award. In late July, Obaid-Chinoy got nominated as SAARC Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS. In August 2012, she received a nominee for the Gucci Award for Women for documentary Saving Face as a director. In December 2012, Sharmeen's Saving Face won Best Short Award at the 28th annual IDA Documentary Awards and she has been voted one of the top five millennial women who has been fighting against domestic and societal violence. In late 2012, Saving Face received the Julian-Bartel Award and the 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Festival Audience Choice Award.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy received the Crystal Award during the annual World Economic Forum meeting 2013 in Davos 22 January 2013 — the first Pakistani to be awarded this honor.


Year Film Role Director Producer Notes
2002 Terror's Children Reporter Yes Yes short documentary
2003 Reinventing the Taliban? Reporter Yes Yes short documentary
2004 On a Razor's Edge Reporter Yes Yes short documentary
2005 Women of the Holy Kingdom Reporter Yes Yes short documentary
2005 Pakistan's Double Game Reporter Yes short documentary
2006 Highway of Tears Reporter Yes short documentary
2006 City of Guilt Reporter Yes short documentary
2006 Cold Comfort Reporter Yes Yes short documentary
2006 The New Apertheid Reporter Yes short documentary
2006 Assimilation No, Integration Yes Reporter Yes short documentary
2007 Afghanistan Unveiled Reporter Yes short documentary
2007 Birth of a Nation Reporter Yes short documentary
2008 Iraq: The Lost Generation Reporter Yes short documentary
2009 Pakistan's Taliban Generation Reporter Yes short documentary
2010 Transgender: Pakistan's Open Secret Reporter Yes short documentary
2012 Saving Face Reporter Yes Yes won Academy Award for Best Documentary
2013 Humaira: The Dream Catcher Reporter Yes Yes short documentary
2015 3 Bahadur Yes Yes Pakistan's first feature-length animated
2015 Song of Lahore Yes Yes Tribeca Film Festival - Official Entry

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award-giving body Award Result
2007 One World Media Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award Won
2010 Emmy Award Best Documentary - Pakistan: Children of the Taliban Won
Livingston Award Young Journalists - Best International Reporting Won
2012 Academy Award Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) - Saving Face (2012 film) Won
New York Indian Film Festival Best Documentary - Saving Face Won
SAARC Film Awards Best Documentary Prize - Saving Face Won
Government of Pakistan Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) Awarded
Lux Style Awards Lux Style Achievement Award Won
2013 Crystal Award Outstanding efforts in Promoting Human Rights and Women’s Issues through Film Won
Emmy Award Best Documentary - Saving Face Won
Emmy Award Outstanding Editing: Documentary and Long Form - Saving Face Won
Emmy Award Outstanding Science and Technology Programming - Saving Face Nominated
Emmy Award Outstanding Cinematography Documentary and Long Form - Saving Face Nominated
Emmy Award Outstanding Research - Saving Face Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Canadian Broadcast Company's Post-Oscar interview with Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
  2. ^ Oscar-winning Pakistani Filmmaker Inspired by Canada
  3. ^ "Pakistan's Oscar triumph for acid attack film Saving Face". BBC News (Nosheen Abbas). Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy dreams of Pakistan's first Oscar". BBC News. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins an Emmy for Pakistan 28 September 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010
  6. ^ a b Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Wins Emmy for "Children of the Taliban" All Things Pakistan. 2 October 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2011
  7. ^ [1] Dawn 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2011
  8. ^ "Pakistan's Oscar triumph for acid attack film Saving Face". BBC News. 27 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Qureshi, Huma (1 March 2012). "Pakistan's first Oscar-winner should be celebrated for exposing the 'bad bits'". The Guardian (London). 
  10. ^ "Pakistan lauds Oscar-winning filmmaker - Yahoo! News Singapore". 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  11. ^ Salmaan Taseer, Meera, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy to be decorated with civil awards, The Express Tribune, March 23, 2012
  12. ^ "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  13. ^ Rachel Quigley (2012-03-15). "TIME magazine 100 most influential people 2012 list includes Pippa and Kate Middleton | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  14. ^ Correspondent, Our. "The 2012 TIME 100: Justice Chaudhry, Obaid-Chinoy among Time’s 100 influential people, The Express Tribune". Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  15. ^ "Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy makes it to Time’s 100 Most Influential People list | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  16. ^ "CJ, Sharmeen on Time list of influential people". Dawn.Com. 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ SOC Films
  19. ^ About Us Citizen's Archive of Pakistan. Retrieved 27 February 2012
  20. ^ [3]

External links[edit]