The opening scene of "Sitara: Let Girls Dream" gives the joy of freedom, where two sisters are seen flying paper plane on their rooftop. Starry night and blue sky make the scene dramatic.
As we know films can be used as a platform to raise awareness against so-called social norms and taboos. Therefore, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, an award winning Pakistani film-maker, journalist and activist, demonstrated the brutality of child marriage – how it destroys dreams of a girl – in "Sitara: Let Girls Dream".
Written and directed by Chinoy, the 15-minute short animated film focuses on child marriage.
Watch the trailer of "Sitara: Let Girls Dream" here
Set in 1970s in Pakistan, the film takes audiences on a journey through the old city of Lahore where a fourteen-year-old girl Pari dreams of becoming a pilot. But she is unaware of the fact that her father plans to marry her off to a much older man.
The story is told through the perspective of her six-year-old sister Mehr, who is unaware of the traditions and barriers that lay in the path of women from her family.
Chinoy is known for her distinctive style of taking sensitive issues and displaying them through the right channels. This is exactly what she did in the beautifully made animated film to draw attention to the major issue.
This film has no dialogues which certainly enhance its emotional appeal as the characters are very expressive and the story has used subtext perfectly. The way Chinoy played with lights and shadow in the film is extraordinary.
Virtual camera works of "Sitara: Let Girls Dream" make it very realistic and emotional. Faizan Ali served as the director of photography on the project.
The art of story-telling and set and staging techniques in the film will remind you of popular Pixar films. Colour science is one of the important aspects of an animated film. The use of colour science associated with the right colour palette and scheme boot the film's philosophical perspective.
The film used high end character modelling which is why each character has subtle expressions. Art director Syed Salman Nasir did a great job in portraying the Lahore city and its skyline. Emmy award winning composer Laura Karpman composed background score of the film.
End credit scenes of "Sitara: Let Girls Dream" show rays of hope for girls. The change is also shown through the character of Pari's brother as he is against her marriage from the very beginning.
The animated short film which deserves a 4.5 star out of 5, is available on Netflix. This film takes a universal approach and is relatable to our country and society as well.
The director of the film won Academy Award for "Saving Face", which made her the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award, and she is also one of only eleven female directors who have ever won an Oscar for a non-fiction film.