TODAY   |  February 23, 2012

Pakistan celebrates its first Oscar nod

NBC’s Pakistan chief correspondent Amna Nawaz reports on the significance of the first Academy Award nod for Pakistan, for Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s “Saving Face.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> are just three days away and stars like brad pitt and george clooney aren't the only ones preparing for the big night . so is pakistan 's first-ever oscar -nominated filmmaker. nbc has the story. it's a great story.

>> it is, her name is sharmine chenoy, her film called " saving face " an hbo documentary could win pakistan its first-ever oscar . as she says, it's the stuff that dreams are made of.

>> i fell in love the first time we put the cameras on. it was because i could see the colors, the textures, the language. the beauty and the heartache could just transcend all barriers.

>> for filmmaker sharmaine, it was a love discovered while studying and working in the u.s. one which led her home to pakistan . you were doing the same work in the states, why come back after being gone for more than a decade?

>> because people like myself, we need to come back to pakistan and we need to give back to the country. because if all the educated people leave this country, then what's going to become of it?

>> the 33-year-old has since devoted the last decade to documenting the lives of pakistan 's most vulnerable. shaping and sharing their stories with the rest of the world on a mission for hope.

>> i can see that we can solve these problems. that's the hardest part. knowing that we can overcome them and not being able to, because of the society we live in.

>> in the last few years, there's been enormous growth in the pakistani news media. the same, however, cannot be said for documentary filmmaking here. which means there are very few people taking an in-depth look at some of the tough issues that face this country. she broke barriers with her 2008 film. investigating the recruitment of child suicide bombers . the film earned her a prestigious emmy award .

>> the win, however, was bittersweet. on the same day that she landed in new york to accept the reward, back home in karachi, her ailing father suddenly died.

>> the most incredible part of that was that the day before he passed away , i spoke to him and he said, i saw you, you won the emmy. and i said, no, it's tomorrow. i haven't gone yet. and he said, no, i know you won it.

>> now, four years later, she is poised to make history with her latest work. an oscar -nominated documentary chronicling the journey of acid attack victims in pakistan and the doctor working to help them. speaking foreign language ]

>> co-directed with a film maker, the film will debut on hbo on march 8 and a win at this year's academy award would bring pakistan its first-ever oscar . a milestone that hasn't gone unnoticed by the nation's press and population.

>> the oscar is the award. not just another award. i think for me, it's become even bigger now. that i see the hope in the eyes of so many different pakistanis.

>> and it's that hope, she says, that keeps her going. focus on the trend she wants to see for the next generation, including her daughter, amelia.

>> i think about the issues that i need to bring forward. so that her life will be different. you know, ten, 15 years from now when she's growing up and i hope that there's so many more stories to tell.

>> she says that she hopes she can make pakistan proud by bringing home an oscar . but regardless of what the sunday brings, win or lose , it is her commitment to highlighting the tough issues in her country that's already caught the attention of the world. carl?

>> great story, thank you.