INP

KARACHI

Celebrated documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is set to make Pakistan’s first animated feature film. In a DW interview, the Oscar winner says that her commercial venture seeks to motivate the country’s youth.

The 36-year-old filmmaker got her first break in 2001. She was offered a chance by the New York Times Television production company to make her film Terror’s Children. In the film, she documented the lives of eight Afghan children that were refugees in the city of Karachi and showcased their daily struggles.

In 2012, eleven years after that first chance, Chinoy won an Oscar for her film Saving Face, which chronicles the journey of a plastic surgeon who treats acid attack victims. Her work’s main focus is on human rights and gender issues. Her film Pakistan’s Taliban Generation won an Emmy in 2010. Chinoy has, meanwhile, produced 12 award winning documentaries in 10 countries. She is also the founder of The Citizens archive of Pakistan (CAP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultural and historic preservation which educates citizens about their heritage. In a DW interview, Chinoy talks about her latest project Three Braves (Teen Bahadur), an animation film for children, and the changing face of Pakistan’s film industry.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said Three Braves is a quintessentially a Pakistani story - replete with unlikely heroes, menacing villains, fumbling thugs, dark horses, and moments of triumph and bouts of despair. Based in a fictional town in Pakistan, eleven-year-old Amna, Saadi and Kamil set out to save their community from the many evils that plague it.

I had wanted to do something for children for a long time because we, as a nation, have completely neglected this demographic. Our youth makes up the largest and, undoubtedly, the most important section of our society and now more than ever, they need local heroes to look up to.

After experimenting with many mediums, we settled on animation because its creative freedom allows us to speak to children in a way that no other medium can. I want Pakistani children from every nook and cranny to see Three Braves and be entertained and inspired. I want them to finally be able to see their reflection in movies, with superheroes that look and speak like them.

She said Pakistan has a very young population, but its media industry is only catering to adults. Most of the content for children is imported and thus our youth grows up with role models and heroes that they cannot relate to culturally.

I felt that it was about time we produced light-hearted, quality content for children locally so that they can finally see characters that look and speak like them on the big screen. The fact that we are giving our children local mentors and heroes is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Three Braves is a story of three kids who set out to save their community in a fictional town in Pakistan

She said Pakistan is a great place to be for budding filmmakers and I believe that our film industry stands to be a formidable force in the near future. The media industry is booming; there is plenty of fresh talent and an audience that is waiting to be entertained. We have a beautiful country where every street and every corner has a story waiting to be told.