Sitara: Let Girls Dream, an animated short directed by two-time Oscar-winner and three-time Emmy-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and produced by Gloria Steinem and Oscar-winner Darla Anderson, is coming to Netflix on March 8. Set in 1970s Pakistan, it tells the story of Pari, a 14-year-old girl who longs to be a pilot, unaware that her father plans to marry her off to a much older man. The 15-minute, silent film makes a powerful statement against child marriage, a human rights violation still in practice globally, and speaks to the importance of allowing girls to pursue their dreams.

Crafting paper planes and studying the life of Amelia Earhart through a book she reads every night, Pari has her sights set on becoming a pilot. Her story is told through the perspective of her six-year-old sister Mehr, who, according to the film’s site, “is unaware of the traditions and barriers that lie in the path of the women from this family.”

Pari’s mother Leila, who was a child bride herself, “has learned to conform and play her role within the home — strong but somewhat broken. When her husband brings home a wedding shoe for Pari, tensions begin to rise between the parents.”

The ending of the film is “left open to interpretation”, and challenges audiences to question why – in 2020 – “the same story is still playing out in societies all across the world, who are still struggling to fully realize that girls must be allowed to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential.”

Check out this making of video, featuring Sharmeen and her Waadi Animations team, who created Sitara: Let Girls Dream in Pakistan.

Lead image credit: LetGirlsDream.org