Denver film director returns home to share his ‘Oscar’ win

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DENVER -- He's from Denver. But was the toast of Tinseltown 11 days ago when he won an Academy Award.

Daniel Junge (pronounced Young-ee) on Wednesday night showed his documentary short to a crowd at the L2 Events Center on Colfax. He then led a question and answer session after the film.

On Feb. 26, he earned applause and Academy accolades for his documentary "Saving Face" about acid attacks on women in Pakistan--at least 100 a year.

"My husband burned me. I was sleeping when he came inside and just threw acid on me. He just didn't want me," says one of the victims in his film.

"It's absolutely horrific to think one human being would do this to another. But as a filmmaker your job is to go beyond that. You have to tell a story. Our task was to find the dignity in these women," says Junge.

The film follows a Pakistani plastic surgeon as he reconstructs the faces and lives of women burned beyond recognition.

"He said come with us on our next trip. That was what came to fruition. Two years later we're here with an Oscar," says the film's producer, Alison Greenberg, also of Denver.

It's an Oscar the Colorado College alumnus keeps close.

"It is a beautiful object everybody wants to touch it," he says about the famous golden statue.

As he puts on a smiling face for his "Saving Face," the admiration keeps coming. And he keeps going.

"I have lot of opportunities opening now and I did not have before this guy (the Oscar) came along. So I'm going make hay while the sun shines," he says.

He flies out to Los Angeles Thursday to talk about directing two big commercial films.
But for now, there's no place he'd rather be.

"After all the glamor and hoopla… There's a little glamor here tonight. But mostly in friends and family being able to share this film with Denver for the first time," he says.

While filming the documentary, Junge says, a federal law passed in Pakistan against acid attacks.

In 2010, Junge was also nominated for best documentary.

Junge is now filming another social justice documentary about Christian ultimate fighting in Jamaica.

“Saving Face” airs Thursday on HBO, as well as at the Denver Film Center.

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