Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy writes an ode to NY Times TV for opening the doors for her first film 20 years ago – Film & TV

Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Ms Marvel is almost here and it’s natural for a project that big to encourage one to look back at their journey to see how far they’ve come. And the director did just that, thanking the person who signed on her first film 20 years ago.

On Wednesday, the day of the release of Ms Marvel’s first episode, Obaid-Chinoy traced her career back to the start and shared the story of how one email to New York Times television president William Abrams kickstarted her career.

“Today is a good day to post this: In March 2002, I wrote an unsolicited email to the president of New York Times television, William Abrams (Bill), pitching my first film: Terror’s Children. [It was] a film about seven Afghan refugee children on the streets of #Pakistan. Fifteen minutes after I pressed the send button, Bill emailed me back and asked me for a detailed proposal… Before I knew it, I was in NY pitching the film to his team in person! And thus began my career in filmmaking,” she wrote in the caption.

She expressed gratitude for the man who opened the first door for her journey to becoming the filmmaker she is today. “Today on the eve of Ms Marvel’s launch I want to thank Bill for opening the door for me, which enabled me to tell the stories I wanted to tell. I hope that my work with @patakha_pictures will allow me to #payitforward,” she said.

Patakha Pictures, helmed by the two-time Academy Award and four-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, is an opportunity for aspiring female filmmakers to tell the stories that matter. “With Patakha Pictures, we are investing in the next generation of female filmmakers of Pakistan,” said Obaid-Chinoy. With special grants and programmes, it aids the emerging female filmmakers to tell their stories.

Obaid-Chinoy’s latest project, Ms Marvel, is the first series featuring a Pakistani-American superhero and actor Iman Vellani is playing 16-year-old Kamala Khan from Jersey City, “an aspiring artist, an avid gamer and a voracious fan-fiction scribe” who soon rises as a superhero who battles the challenges that come your way as a high schooler in America.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker joined Meera Menon, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah in directing the series. She believes the show is a moment of celebration for Pakistan. Sharing the trailer on social media, she said she could not be “more prouder of the story we are telling and the message we are sending out into the world”. “Having just emerged from a year and a half of working on Ms Marvel, I cannot wait to share her story with the world — I know many young girls will see a reflection of themselves in her!” Obaid-Chinoy added.

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