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Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, first Desi woman to direct a Star Wars film


Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, First South Asian & Muslim woman to direct a Star Wars film, which will be set after the events of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, and feature Daisy Ridley back as Rey as she builds a new Jedi Order.

Lucasfilm‘s Studio Showcase at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced that three new live-action Star Wars films are on the way. Helming the movies are James Mangold (Logan, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny), Dave Filoni (The Mandalorian, Ahsoka), and Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel, Saving Face).

James Mangold’s movie will go back to the dawn of the Jedi, while Dave Filoni’s will focus on the New Republic, and close out the interconnected stories told in The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and other Disney+ series.

Obaid-Chinoy, who has two Oscars for documentaries denouncing violence against women, said she was “drawn to the hero’s journey” in the Star Wars universe.

“I spent the better part of my lifetime meeting real heroes who are overcoming oppressive regimes and battling impossible odds, and I think that’s the heart of Star Wars,” she said.

Obaid-Chinoy directed last year’s Ms Marvel television series featuring a Muslim superhero.

She received her bachelor’s degree in economics and government from Smith College and went on to earn two master’s degrees from Stanford University. She returned to Pakistan and launched her career as a filmmaker with her first film Terror’s Children for The New York Times. In 2003 and 2004 she made two award-winning films while at Stanford. Her most notable films includes, the documentaries Saving Face (2012), Song of Lahore (2015) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2016), the animated 3 Bahadur films (2015-2018) and Ms. Marvel (2022).

She is the recipient of two Academy Awards, seven Emmy Awards and a Knight International Journalism Award. In 2012, the Government of Pakistan honoured her with the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian honour of the country and the same year Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She holds the records for being the first female film director to have won two Academy Awards by the age of and the first person of Pakistani origin to be nominated for (and to win) the Academy Award for best documentary in the short subject category, and the first person of Pakistani origin to win any Academy Award. She is also the first non-US-American to win the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. The 2015 animated adventure 3 Bahadur made her the first Pakistani to make a computer-animated feature-length film. In 2017, Obaid-Chinoy became the first artist to co-chair the World Economic Forum.

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