Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Changing the World Through Film

Discovering Global Injustices & Rendering Change

Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Smith '02)
                                                            Photo credit: Zara Ali

Yesterday, we were able to watch two documentaries by Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a Smith graduate of 2002. The first documentary we watched, called Saving Face, was probably the most graphic and eye-opening film I have ever seen. Before this film, I had no idea what was going in Pakistan. I had no idea that acid attacks were a reality for so many women in that culture.

Sharmeen's work in documenting the Pakistani women who have been affected by acid attacks is important because it spreads the word about these terrible, life-ruining incidents to prevent future ones and protect younger generations. The strength and the courage displayed by the women who have been affected by acid attacks was amazing and the surgeon's creation of the plastic face part for a woman whose eye socket could not be saved was simply heartwarming.

Her other film, Humaira: The Dream Catcher, was shorter but nonetheless inspiring. It focused on a woman named Humaira who works to instill the concept that education should be equally accessible for both men and women. She works to give education to young girls and to educate young boys that both genders are equal and deserve an education.

Sharmeen's work is very interesting to me because I love documentaries. As an AP language and literature alum, I absolutely LOVE to analyze images. I especially love to point out product placement whenever I watch a movie. It is so fun, try it sometime! Film involves moving images and images are most likely to stick in the minds of people rather than words.

There is a great quote from the late American poet and singer Maya Angelou, who once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I think Sharmeen's films are a perfect example of Angelou's quote. Delegates and Student Ambassadors will not forget the feeling of disbelief and terror after seeing Saving Face. They will not forget how proud they felt after watching Humaira: The Dream Catcher.

There are so many things I want to do in this life that sometimes, it becomes a little overwhelming to try and budget time for all of my endeavors. However, I have a list, and creating documentaries is on it. As long as I try my best, I cannot fail. (I think that is a famous quote from someone but at this point, I am too tired and lazy to make the extra effort to open another Google tab to look it up. Therefore, I will attribute that quote to someone in the universe. That seems fair.)

As we near the very end of the Institute, think: what do I want to do? How can I change the world? *Insert Ghandi quote here*

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