Sitara: Let Girls Dream (Urdu: ستارہ: لڑکیوں کو خواب دیکھنے دو) is a 2020 Pakistani computer animated short film directed and written by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The film attempts to spotlight the issue of child marriage.
|Sitara: Let Girls Dream|
|Directed by||Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy|
|Written by||Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy|
|Produced by||Gloria Steinem|
|Music by||Laura Karpman|
In the old city of Lahore in the 1970s lives Pari, a fourteen year-old girl who dreams of becoming a pilot. She treasures her book about trailblazer Amelia Earhart, and flies pretend-planes with her younger sister Mehr, unaware of the building tension between her parents. The reason for the tension soon becomes clear: Pari is being forced to marry a much older man. Her fate after the marriage ceremony is only hinted at, but Mehr joins her mother in her accusatory attitude towards her father, and even her brother brushes off the father's attempts at male camaraderie with him. The film is silent, but at its close a written message appears: "Around the world every year, the dreams of 12 million child brides will never take flight". As the credits roll, a series of still illustrations tell another story, of hope: The father has learned his lesson, and sends Mehr to school. She graduates, and becomes a pilot, flying away in a plane and outfit just like Amelia Earhart's.
The film was produced by Obaid-Chinoys production company, Waadi Animations. The team faced multiple challenges to create a high-level animation film in Pakistan, where there is little film education and thus few animation professionals, a dearth of equipment and software of the types and quality needed, and had to contend with faulty infrastructures. According to Obaid-Chinoy:
“Our machines are old. You are beholden to the machines that you use. You are beholden to power cuts that take place for hours on end. You are beholden to machines that often break down... We would often put things on render and come back in the morning and they wouldn’t have rendered.”
The team began their work in 2012, sometimes watching YouTube tutorials, sometimes having the benefit of Pixar consultants assisting over Skype. By 2019, they had a film ready for release, and Sitara became the first Pakistani animated film to be released and distributed by Netflix USA.
Gucci hosted a special screening for the film at 2020 Sundance Film Festival in connection to their campaign #LetGirlsDream. It was released on 8 March 2020 on Netflix on the occasion of International Women's Day.
The film won three awards at the 2019 Los Angeles Animation Festival, for Best Produced Screenplay, Best Music Score and the Humanitarian Award.
- "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Sitara: Let Girls Dream' on Netflix, a Short Animated Film About a Pakistani Child Bride". Decider. 12 March 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
- "Review: 'Sitara: Let Girls Dream' portrays unfortunate reality for many girls". The Diamondback. 10 March 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
- "About Netflix - NETFLIX TO RELEASE ANIMATED SHORT FILM SITARA: LET GIRLS DREAM FROM AWARD-WINNING DIRECTOR SHARMEEN OBAID-CHINOY". About Netflix. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- Sitara: Let Girls Dream - The Making Of, Netflix
- Tangcay, Jazz (8 December 2019). "'Sitara: Let Girls Dream' Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Talks Empowering Girls in Pakistan". Variety. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- Khan, Manal Faheem (12 March 2020). "Sharmeen Obaid's 'Sitara' is Pakistan's first animated film to be released by Netflix USA". cutacut. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- "Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's Sitara wins 3 awards at LA festival | SAMAA". Samaa TV. Retrieved 24 February 2021.