Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy made history earlier this year when she won Pakistan's first Oscar. Her documentary, Saving Face, told the stories of several women fighting to rebuild their lives after their husbands threw acid in their faces.
Now the director faces a contentious legal fight -- she is attempting to release the film in Pakistan, where survivors fear ostracism and reprisals if the film is shown.
Naila Farhat, who features fleetingly in the documentary:
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. This is disrespect to my family, to my relatives and they'll make an issue of it. You know what it's like in Pakistan. They gossip all the time if they see a woman in a film.
Naveed Muzaffar Khan, a lawyer who represents the victims, said legal notices were sent to Obaid-Chinoy and fellow producer Daniel Junge last week. The survivors, he said, "have not consented for it to be publicly released in Pakistan," adding that such agreement was required for all the women who appeared in the film. He plans to seek a formal injunction Friday unless they agree not to release the film publicly in the country.
For her part, Obaid-Chinoy insisted the women signed legal documents allowing the film to be shown anywhere in the world, including Pakistan. She said she was "unclear about the allegations" and would respond to the legal complaints "when a court orders us."
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