Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is an award winning documentary filmmaker who recently completed her fourth film for New York Times Television. Women of the Holy Kingdom looks at the contributions that Saudi women are making to their economy and society.
Obaid's first documentary Terror's Children , premiered on the launch night of the Discovery Times Channel (A venture between The New York Times and Discovery Communications) on March 25, 2003.
Obaid was awarded the American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Award for "Individual Achievement, Reporter/Correspondent" for her work in the documentary Terror's Children. She was also awarded the Overseas Press Club Award , ("The Carl Spielvogel Award" for best international reporting in any medium showing a concern for the human condition) and the South Asian Journalist Association Award for the same film.
Obaid filmed her second documentary for the Discovery Times network in the northwest province of Pakistan, exploring the conflict between the secular majority and a zealous minority of fundamentalist Muslims who are steadily gaining more ground in the region. The film, Re-inventing the Taliban? premiered on the channel in February 2004.
The film was awarded the Special Jury Award at the BANFF TV festival in Canada, the CINE Golden Eagle Award and the American Women in Radio and Television award for outstanding documentary in the U.S. Obaid was also the first non-American journalist to be awarded the prestigious Livingston Award for her work in this documentary.
On a Razor's Edge was Obaid's third documentary. It aired on PBS Frontline World on March 25th 2004. The documentary dealt with President Musharraf's policies in light of the nuclear leaks and the proxy war in Kashmir.
Born in 1978, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was the first woman in her Pakistani family to receive a Western education. Obaid graduated from Smith College with a bachelor of arts (honors) in economics and government and then went to complete two master's degrees from Stanford University in International Policy Studies and Communication.
As a student at Smith College, Obaid was politically and journalistically active, lecturing, and writing for publications such as The Philadelphia Inquirer , The Coast (a Canadian weekly) and several Pakistani newspapers.
Obaid's career in documentary filmmaking began when she examined the plight of Afghani refugee children in Pakistan for one of her articles. Their situation was so dire, and their stories so compelling, that Obaid decided to return to Pakistan and create a film about them. She petitioned Smith College and New York Times Television production division for the grants that would allow her to accomplish her goals. Intrigued by her story, both organizations gave her the funds as well as production equipment and training.