Samar Minallah Khan


Having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an M.Phil in Anthropology, Samar’s interests lie in civil and human rights which she translates to film, holding up a mirror to certain aspects of society in order to effect change.

Samar is one of the first Pakistani filmmakers who used video to give voices to the marginalized by making socially relevant documentaries. Her first documentary in Pushtu titled “Swara-Da Zhwand Mairman” challenged giving of girls as compensation to end disputes. The documentary was a catalyst in pushing a law against the custom of ‘Swara’. The film was used as evidence in the first ever Supreme Court Case highlighting the issue.

She has won several awards for highlighting this culturally sanctioned form of violence through her films. Samar doesn’t shy away from showing challenging aspects of society, but always does so from a positive point of view, through highlighting strengths and finding space for solutions from within the culture. She has made several documentaries highlighting violence against women and children in Pakistan.

She believes in the power of film to generate dialogue and understanding on issues that are otherwise invisible and unheard. By doing so, she has managed to give a new meaning to advocacy and documentary film-making in Pakistan. Her documentaries are being used for advocacy and raising awareness by both government and non-government organizations and media in Pakistan. Samar’s documentaries have also been screened at International Film Festivals and events. Samar has presented papers at several international conferences and forums.

Samar has received several national and international awards for her documentaries. Some of these include:

• Vital Voices Global Leadership Award 2013, Washington
• Roberto Rossellini Award, Maori Film Festival, Italy. 2009
• Pakistan Women’s Day Award, 2011, National Commission for the Status of Women, Government of Pakistan..
• Cannon Award, Maori Film Festival, Italy, 2009.
• Unicef/ABU/CASBAA Girl Child Rights Media Award 2005.
• Perdita Huston Human Rights Activist Award’ 2007,
• Civic Courage Award 2009 by the Center for Civic Education, Pakistan,
• Chang Lin Tein Fellowship award by the Asia Foundation in 2010.
• Winner of South Asian Filmmaking Competition on HIV/AIDS by UNESCO, 2008.

● Pakistan Women’s Day Award for ‘Challenging Culturally Sanctioned Forms of Violence against Women’ through media, 2011, NCSW, Government of Pakistan

Alumni Ambassador for British Council Pakistan, 2011.

Message: “A filmmaker can change mindsets…bring about change, especially in the information age when a film can be viewed by anyone living anywhere in the world. That is empowerment. That is the way forward!”

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