Sitara is Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s very Pixar-esque ode to girls that never get to follow their dreams. As the film points out, 12 million child brides around the world have to sacrifice their ambitions to serve the household.
The short film is approximately 15 minutes and entirely without dialogue. It tells the story of a common household in Pakistan with two sisters and a brother. The main focus is of course on the two sisters. The two share a special connection based on their love of flight. They throw paper planes into the air, imagine being co-pilots of a jumbo jet and flip through a picture book about Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. This continues until the elder sister is betrothed to a much elder man.
The film refrains from pointing fingers and blames the system above all. It is hinted that the mother of the household was also married at a very young age, hence her opposition to the marriage. It’s also quite a realistic story, with no miracles or clichés.
As for the craft behind the film, it’s a great technical achievement. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Waadi Animation studios continue to put out some of the crispest, cleanest animation that the country has ever seen.
She has also collaborated with quite a few heavyweights for this production. The Executive Producer list includes Darla Anderson who was a film producer at Pixar Animation Studios for films like Coco and Toy Story 3. It also includes feminist legend Gloria Steinem. Also worthy of praise are Kamran Khan, the Animation Director, and Art Director Syed Salman Nasir who have both previously worked on the 3 Bahadur series.
Sitara is now streaming on Netflix.