The news: Sitara: Let Girls Dream Pakistan’s first Netflix original, written and directed by two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, has been released. The 15-minute silent film tackles the issue of child marriage, and has already won three international awards. Sitara is available on Netflix in over 90 countries.
14-year-old’s dream: Sitara tells the story of a 14-year-old girl, Pari, who dreams of being a pilot. The audience experiences the point of view of her six-year-old sister, Mehr, who also shares the fascination with skies. Mehr gets confused as her beloved sister is prepared for the wedding and her dreams become unimportant. The end credits also provide a surprise sneak-peak into the Mehr’s future.
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Humanitarian Award: The film bagged the Best Produced Screenplay, Best Music Score and the Humanitarian Award at the Angeles Animation Festival 2019 in North Hollywood. It has been produced by Vice Studios and Chinoy’s own animation studio Waadi Animations. Executive producers of Sitara include big names from the industry like VICE Media Group’s CEO Nancy Dubuc, the producer of Coco and Toy Story 3 Darla Anderson, Emmy-nominated Ariel Wengroff, Gloria Steinem, and Imke Fehrmann. The credits for Sitara’s musical score go to Grammy and Emmy Award-Winning composer Laura Karpman, who managed to convey various emotional situations throughout the silent film with her music. As the film touches a sensitive topic, the personalities and feelings of all characters were communicated largely through their expressions and music.
‘Investing in an equitable world’: “Waadi Animations is proud to have created an animated short that is at par with the best of the world and we are delighted that SITARA will be available to a global audience on Netflix,” said Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy in a press statement. She hoped that it will lead to thoughtful discussions as the film will be screened in schools and community centers around the world. “We strongly believe that investing in the dreams of young girls will lead to a more equitable world,” she said. In late 2019, Chinoy launched a social impact initiative with GUCCI’s Chime for Change called ‘Let Girls Dream’ that encouraged girls around the world to share their dreams and gain inspiration from one another. She has also won six Emmy awards and two Academy awards for her documentaries about women’s plight in patriarchal societies like Saving Face and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.