Joy for The Smile Train, and Priceless Exposure, as Smile Pinki Film Earns Oscar
Feb. 23, 2009, The Moodie Report — Smile Pinki, the acclaimed true-story film about a young Indian girl born with a cleft lip and palate, was awarded the Oscar for the Best Short Documentary at the annual Academy Awards in Hollywood last night.
The film documents the moving story of Pinki, now eight years of age, whose life-changing cleft operation was funded by The Smile Train*, the world’s leading cleft charity. Smile Pinki was directed by American film maker Megan Mylan.
The Oscar will give the charity — for which the travel retail industry collectively has raised well over US$1 million in the past two years — priceless international exposure.
In the run-up to the Oscars, Pinki’s story and the work of The Smile Train was profiled by both CNN and BBC (see The Moodie Blog).
Coverage since the award has been intense — buoyed by the fact that another film set in India — Slumdog Millionaire — won Best Picture and a host of other awards.
Pinki was flown in to attend the event, accompanied by her father Rajendar, visiting The Smile Train’s New York headquarters on Friday.
Brian Mullaney, Co-Founder of The Smile Train, told supporters this weekend that the ceremony was the most important moment in the charity’s history.
“Watch out Angelina and Kate Winslet — Pinki and her new smile may very well steal the show Sunday night,” he said. He was right.
Mullaney continued: “Pinki would not only be the youngest person to ever win an Oscar but also be a shining symbol of hope and inspiration for millions of children who are suffering with clefts. Desperately poor children who have been crying themselves to sleep at night for years as they wait and wonder if anyone is going to come along and give them a chance.”