Pakistan’s first Oscar-winning film is being screened at the Beyond the Mango Film Festival at the National Media Museum tomorrow night.
Saving Face, made by Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Daniel Junge, is a documentary about reconstructive surgery on women who have been subjected to acid attacks in Pakistan.
The film, which won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary in the short film category, will be introduced by Pakistani actress, film-maker and social activist Samina Peerzada who herself was given a Beyond the Mango Lifetime Achievement Award last week.
She is part of a campaign in Pakistan to persuade the Government to ban the sale of acid or at least stop it being freely available.
She said: “You cannot buy medicines without a prescription, so why should you be able to buy acid?
“Talking and settling scores across a table takes a lot of bravery. Anyone who uses acid or violence because their ego or honour is hurt is a coward, it’s an act of cowardice.”
Samina is involved with the Smile Again campaign started by her friend Mussarrat Misbah, a beautician, who helps rehabilitate acid attack victims.
Sitting in Bradford’s Midland Hotel, where she has been based for the duration of Beyond the Mango, Samina also explained why she wants to bring a festival of music from Lahore to the city centre next summer.
The World Performing Arts Festival has been run by the Peerzada family in Lahore since 1992 and consists of music, dance, larger-than-life puppets, theatre and film.
She said: “It’s the third-largest festival in the world after Edinburgh and Charleville in France – a large annual puppet festival. Bringing it here is my project. You have an amazing city. You have the world here. The only thing is there should be music and dance.”
Five years ago the Taliban bombed the Peerzada festival in Lahore, an open-air event then, but nobody was seriously hurt and the festival goes on.
Samina will be talking about Saving Face in the Cubby Broccoli cinema tomorrow from 8pm.