Two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has won a Humanitarian Award for her documentary Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers at the RiverRun International Film Festival held annually in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, reports the Winston-Salem Journal. Sharmeen shares the award with her co-director, the Emmy award-winning filmmaker Geeta Gandhbir.
Sharmeen dedicated the award to the subjects of her documentary, 3 Bangladeshi women who were deployed to earthquake-stricken Haiti in 2010 as members of the UN peacekeeping mission.
"The role of United Nations peacekeepers is a true 'mission impossible,' dropping soldiers who literally don't speak each other's languages into foreign countries rife with chaos and violence. Anything that goes wrong can become an international incident. Good luck," reads the description about Peacekeepers on the website of Toronto International Film Festival, where the documentary premiered.
By telling these women's stories, they hoped to shatter stereotypes about Muslim women.
The documentary not only details their gruelling journey throughout the mission where they are considered with mistrust, but also their return home, where they face challenges of a different kind: familial disapproval of leaving home for work.