Director Saim Sadiq and actor Sarwat Gilani extended her a warm welcome on Instagram. “Elated to have Malala be part of team Joyland. The film is all set to have its premiere at the London Film Festival tomorrow,” wrote the Churails actor.
Malala has her own film and TV production company, Extracurricular Productions. “I am incredibly proud to support a film that proves Pakistani artists are among the best in global cinema. Joyland invites us to open our eyes to the people closest to us — to see our family members and friends as they are, not coloured by our own expectations or societal bias,” Variety quoted her saying.
The film had its world premiere at Cannes, Pakistan’s first ever entry at the festival, this year where it won the jury prize at the festival’s Un Certain Regard strand. It is currently playing at both the BFI London Film Festival, where it is competing for the Sutherland Award, which recognises the most original and imaginative directorial debut, and the Busan International Film Festival, where it is in the A Window on Asian Cinema strand.
Joyland’s story primarily revolves around Junejo’s character Haider, the youngest son of a middle-class family. He secretly joins theatre as a background dancer and develops a friendship with Biba, a trans dancer struggling to make a mark in theatres. The family drama in the film emphasises the themes of “desire, secrets and empathy”.
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 Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, and Rasti Farooq alongside some of Pakistan’s beloved and respected actors like Gilani, Sania Saeed, Sohail Sameer and Salmaan Peerzada.
Even though the film is releasing on November 18 in Pakistani theatres, an official trailer has yet to be released.