Pakistan routinely is ranked among the most dangerous countries for women. Much of the nation is extremely conservative, with women often subjected to violence at the hands of men. Repercussions are minimal, and more than half of Pakistani women who experience violence say nothing out of shame and fear. Freedom Fighters follows three brave women who are speaking out against inequality and pushing for equal rights in their country.
The short film interweaves the stories of Tabassum Adnan, Saima Sharif and Syeda Ghulam Fatima as they strive to create a more just country for their fellow citizens. Adnan was sold as a child bride but eventually gained her freedom and now seeks justice for abused women also trapped in marriages with a historic female “jirga,” a gathering of influential elders who make decisions on cases brought by members of the community. Sharif is the only woman in her village to have joined the police force. In the wake of the death of her brother, who also was a police officer, she joins the Elite Force, an antiterrorism unit that assists the police. Fatima works to eradicate bonded labor and child labor, especially within the brick kiln industry. She has helped to free an estimated 80,000 people from slavery.
Each woman faces personal risk for her chosen path, but none waver in the face of adversity. Verite sequences and 2D animation help to tell the stories of these powerful women and the victims they have helped in their journey to challenge the status quo.
FILMMAKER'S BIO: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is a two-time Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. She has made more than a dozen films in over 10 countries. Her film, "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness," which she directed for HBO, won the 2016 Academy Award for best documentary short subject and prompted Pakistan's parliament to pass a bill banning honor killing. "Saving Face," which she directed and produced with Daniel Junge for HBO, won the 2012 Academy Award for best documentary short subject. In 2012, Time magazine included her in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "I have always been interested in topics about human rights and women's issues that many people find controversial. I choose to film subjects that spark difficult conversations and make people uncomfortable. Change only comes about when people are forces to discuss an issue."
— Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy