Thursday, 24 May 2012

'Saving Face’ producers threatened with legal action by victims

Acid attack victims in Pakistan have threatened legal action to block the release of award-winning documentary Saving Face in the country for fear of reprisals.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s heartrending documentary was celebrated around the world and won an Oscar – Pakistan’s first – in February.

But relations between the director and some of the subjects featured in the film have reportedly taken a turn for the worst.

Survivors have said they are at risk of further acid attacks if the film is screened in Pakistan.
Saving Face follows acclaimed British-Pakistani surgeon, Mohammad Jawad, as he travels around Pakistan performing reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid attacks.

The film’s success however has angered some of its subjects.

"We had no idea it would be a hit and win an Oscar. It's completely wrong. We never allowed them to show this film in Pakistan," Naila Farhat, 22, who lost an eye to an acid attack, told AFP news agency.

"This is disrespect to my family, to my relatives and they'll make an issue of it... We may be in more danger and we're scared that, God forbid, we could face the same type of incident again.

"We do not want to show our faces to the world."

But Ms Obaid-Chinoy insists the women have signed legal documents allowing the film to be shown anywhere in the world, including Pakistan.

She told AFP that one woman featured, Rukhsana, had already been edited out of the version to be shown in Pakistan out of respect for her concerns.

-    Viji Alles

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