With only a few days left until its nationwide release in Pakistan, Saim Sadiq’s Joyland has achieved another accolade — the Honourable Mention Award at the São Paulo International Film Festival for lead actor Ali Junejo.
Sharing the achievement on his Instagram story, Sadiq reposted Mostra SP’s announcement that Junejo won the Jury Prize, Honourable Mention along with Zelda Samson of French film Dalva and film Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Pierre Földes.
Joyland has also been selected by the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee for the International Feature Film Award category for the Oscars. Nobel laureate Malala has also jumped aboard as an executive producer.
On October 12, the teaser for Joyland was shared through the production company’s official Instagram handle that described the film as an “exciting and emotional world of Joyland that delves deep into the challenging complexities of desire and patriarchy, through the story of the Rana family.”
The teaser opened with Alina Khan’s cardboard cutout, Junejo looking the other way and Rasti Farooq running around with Sarwat Gilani looking straight into the camera. The trailer featured a birthday scene with the lead actors happy one minute and Khan in a hospital aisle with dried blood on her clothes in the next. The trailer then cuts to a poster being changed at the low-scale dance theatre where Khan and Junejo work together.
The film has been written and directed by Sadiq and produced by Apoorva Guru Charan, Sarmad Sultan Khoosat and Lauren Mann. The film’s ensemble cast includes debutantes Junejo, Khan, and Farooq alongside some of Pakistan’s beloved and respected actors like Gilani, Sania Saeed, Sohail Sameer and Salmaan Peerzada.
Joyland will screen at theatres across Pakistan on November 18. The film had its worldwide premiere at Cannes in May, where it also won the Cannes Queer Palm prize for best LGBT, “queer” or feminist-themed movie and the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard segment.