The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee called for film submissions for Oscar consideration in August and the results are in. They’re nominating Saim Sadiq’s Joyland for the International Feature Film Award category for the 95th Academy Awards.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will choose the final nominees for all award categories on December 21. The complete and final list of Oscar nominees will be announced on January 24 with the presentation show for the 95th Academy Awards scheduled to take place on March 12.
Written and directed by Sadiq, and produced by Apoorva Guru Charan, Sarmad Sultan Khoosat and Lauren Mann, Joyland features Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gillani, Salman Peerzada, Sohail Sameer and Sania Saeed. Shot in Lahore, it is a bittersweet tale of repressed desire and the quest for individual freedom.
This year’s Oscar committee was chaired by two-time Academy Award and Emmy winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and included singer Ali Sethi, author Omar Shahid Hamid, film critic Rafay Mahmood, actor and filmmaker Samina Ahmad, producer Jerjees Seja, screenwriter and director Bee Gul, designer Rizwan Beyg, cinematographer Mo Azmi and actor Zeba Bakhtiar.
“We are delighted to be able to send one of our best to compete at the Academy Awards this year. Joyland gives us hope that Pakistani cinema is finally leaving a mark on the world stage. This may just be the year we get noticed! Congratulations to the entire filmmaking team,” said Obaid-Chinoy
“I am humbled, thankful and excited about this immense honour to represent Pakistan at the Oscars with a film that I truly believe is an honest and compassionate representation of who we are as people. I hope that the joys and sorrows of these characters foster empathy among the viewers in Pakistan and abroad,” Sadiq commented on the selection of his film.
“In the coming months, we will need many duas [prayers] and good wishes from our people for the road ahead. We always complain about how — despite the presence of many great artists in all fields — Pakistani art has remained grossly underrepresented in the world. This year, however, has been different already. So I’ll take this moment to feel hopeful. With my gratitude to the selection committee, I wish the best of luck to Joyland and to Pakistan!” he added.
Producers Charan and Khoosat talked about the experience of making the movie. “The journey of making Joyland has brought together the most wonderful team from around the world, united in a truly South-Asian, universally human story from Pakistan. We are so grateful to the committee — with this entry, we get to share Joyland with a larger audience. With love from Pakistan, to the world.”
Sadiq’s film was Pakistan’s first competitive entry at Cannes and not only did it make it to one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, it also wowed the audience, resulting in a standing ovation. If that weren’t enough, it won awards and garnered international acclaim as well. The film is scheduled to release in cinemas across Pakistan on November 18.