Sharmeen Obaid's short on Qandeel Baloch debuts at DOC NYC

Published 09 Dec, 2020 12:42pm

Images Staff

“Making biographical films is tricky, but it’s harder when your subject is as complex and widely misunderstood as Qandeel."

Specialising in investigative and socially motivated content, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy Films' latest documentary, A Life Too Short, a story of Qandeel Baloch and her social media chronicles, just debuted at the 11th edition of DOC NYC, America's largest documentary festival.

Nominated under the category 'Short List: Shorts', the section showcases a selection that the festival’s programming team considers to be among the year’s strongest contenders for Oscars and other awards.

Directed by Safyah Zafar Usmani, co-directed by Saad Zuberi and produced by SOC Films, the movie is a story on honour killing, chronicling around the life of social media superstar Qandeel Baloch who pushed boundaries of a conservative Pakistan.

Passing away at just 26, her brother smothered her to death for her open exclamations of women’s equality and sexuality through her sensational social media presence.

“Making A Life Too Short has been a labour of love for more than three years and now that it’s ready to go out into the world, I am both nervous and excited," exclaimed Safyah.

"Undoubtedly, Qandeel had big dreams and the courage to create her own identity but I am left terrified every time I realize that not all women amongst us can afford the basic right to choose to live however they want."

"Yet I live for the day when there won’t be a price to pay should a woman choose to follow her heart,” the director added.

“Making biographical films is always tricky, but it’s harder when your subject is as complex and widely misunderstood as Qandeel Baloch," revealed co-director Saad Zuberi.

"There’s so much more to her story than how it came to an end, but it’s really important for the world to remember the price Qandeel had to pay just because she chose to dream big and remain true to herself, and hopefully this film will help do that.”

A Life Too Short was acquired by MTV Documentary Films earlier in October 2020, as part of an exciting lineup that tackles the social, political and cultural topics affecting the immediate lives and future outlooks of young people today.

This year’s DOC NYC’s winning short will qualify for consideration in the 'Documentary Short Subject' category of the Annual Academy Awards in 2021, without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

One of the 12 titles that showcased this year at DOC NYC, last year the selection included seven of the ten films that went on to be named to the Oscars Shortlist for Documentary Shorts, with three of DOC NYC’s picks going on to be Oscar nominees.