Saim Sadiq’s Joyland has earned itself yet another international fan, this time in a fellow filmmaker. Sean Baker of films The Florida Project, Red Rocket and Tangerine took to Twitter and lauded American film distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories’ decision to release the film in the US.
On Sunday, Baker tweeted, “Great news. Oscilloscope is releasing Saim Sadiq’s beautiful film. Happens to be the first Pakistani film to be shortlisted for the Oscars,” in response to Oscilloscope Laboratories tweet, announcing that Joyland has joined their “O-Scope family” as they are proud to release the much “captivating and essential” Pakistani film. The distribution company also announced that it will be available to watch in cinemas this year.
The official Instagram account of film Joyland re-shared Baker’s tweet and wrote, “We love Florida Project, Tangerine and Red Rocket and to have the support of the filmmaker who gave us these gems means the world. Thank you Sean Baker.”
Oscilloscope Laboratories is an independent film distribution company owned by rapper Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys. Based in New York, the company has a recording studio and film production facilities.
The news comes after Sadiq’s Joyland was shortlisted for the Oscars in the Best International Feature Film category. It’ll be competing against Argentina’s Argentina, 1985, Austria’s Corsage, France’s Saint Omer, Morocco’s The Blue Caftan, and India’s Last Film Show among others this year at the 95th Academy Awards in March.
Joyland may be releasing worldwide by now, however, its release in Pakistan was a tricky affair. After being cleared by the censor board, it was declared “uncertified” for containing “highly objectionable material” that went against Pakistani society’s “social values and moral standards”. After facing backlash from celebrities and the general public for this decision, PM Shehbaz Sharif formed a committee to review this decision and the ban was rescinded. Punjab reinstated the ban in its jurisdiction though the film was released everywhere else in the country and amassed glowing reviews.