Academy Award-winning producer and actor Riz Ahmed’s production company Left Handed Films has joined Pakistani film “Joyland” as an executive producer.
Written and directed by Saim Sadiq, “Joyland” had its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the Queer Palm. The film was nominated for Best International Film at the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards and was recently shortlisted for Best International Feature Film as Pakistan’s official entry at the 95th Academy Awards.
The film tells the story of Haider (Ali Junejo), who lives in Lahore, Pakistan with his wife Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq), his father and his elder brother’s family. After a long period of unemployment, Haider works as a background dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque — although he tells his family he is the theater’s manager — and falls in love with Biba (Alina Khan), a transgender woman also starring in the project, which is a Exploring love and desire in a patriarchal society, they are Sarwat Geelani, Sohail Sameer, Salman Peerzada and Sania Saeed.
“’Joyland’ is groundbreaking. And it’s easy to get lost all that way; The first Pakistani film at Cannes, the first award-winning, the first Oscar-shortlisted and a quirky love story that crossed multiple hurdles for its release,” Ahmed and Left Hand film executive Ally Moore said in a statement announcing the film. Partnership “But more important than the glass ceiling it breaks, is how this film so skillfully breaks our hearts.”
Their statement continues: “Sim Sadiq’s filmmaking is both understated and gut-wrenching. His writing is constantly unexpected – both unexpectedly delightful and devastating. Each of his scenes is so elegantly composed yet bursting with vivid raw character and acting. ‘Joyland’ is one of the best films of the year, and despite all the resources and marketing budget, it’s been amazing to see festival judges, audiences and critics shouting it from the rooftops.”
The partnership between Sadiq, Ahmed and Left Hand Films could prove particularly advantageous for the film, given the production company’s strong, recent track record at the Academy Awards, with three nominations in 2022 and its first Oscar win for “The Long Goodbye.” Live-action short film Ahmed co-wrote and starred in. The company also produced Jonas Poh Rasmussen’s “Flea,” which made history as the first movie to earn nominations for best animated feature, documentary feature and international feature.
Sadiq added, “I’m delighted that Reese and Left Hand Films will join ‘Joyland’ as an EP. “Reese and his production company have a track record of great taste, and having them on board further confirms our belief in both the urgency and universality of ‘Joyland’.”
Ahmed joins a high-profile list of executive producers on the project, which also counts Malala Yousafzai, Ramin Bahrani, Jemima Khan, William Olson, Jane Gwen Blake, Tiffany Boyle, Elsa Ramo, Oleg Dobson, Catherine Lohman, Hari Charan Prasad, Sukanya. Puvula and Wais Ahmed are the executive producers.
After its Cannes debut, “Joyland” has screened at numerous festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival and AFI Fest, and will also be screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Last week, it was announced that the film has been picked up in the US by Oscilloscope Laboratories (O-Scope) and is set for a traditional theatrical release later this year.
Ahmed noted in his statement, however, that the film’s path to release was a challenging one. In November, the Pakistani government banned the film for containing “extremely objectionable” material.
An order dated November 11 by Pakistan’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry said the country’s censor board had given the film a censor certificate on August 17, but it has since reversed the decision. Sadiq and the filmmakers spoke out against the decision, along with Nobel laureate Yousafzai in an emotional piece. diversity. The same week, Pakistan lifted the ban, releasing the film in theaters with minor edits.