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Samar Minallah | Member

Ms. Samar Minallah is a documentary filmmaker, and human rights activist. 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. She has produced a number of documentaries, documenting the Vanni and Swara traditions in Pakistan, primarily focused on discrimination against women.

For the past 20 years, Samar Minallah has been advocating for the rights of rural women in Pakistan, first as a freelance journalist and then as an activist documentary filmmaker.

She 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.

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.