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‘Joyland’ Director Saim Sadiq & Producer Apoorva Guru Charan Talk Un Certain Regard Jury Prize Winner – Cannes Studio

'Joyland' Director And Producer On Making Un Certain Regard Winner - Cannes

Un Certain Regard Jury Prize winner Joyland has the distinction of being the first Pakistani film in official selection in Cannes. Director Saim Sadiq told Deadline’s Cannes Studio that he learned of the selection while still finishing the movie. “It’s been a lot to process to be able to finish the film and at the same time to be able to reconcile with the fact that it was my first film and Pakistan’s first film.”

For producer Apoorva Guru Charan, the Cannes placement came with “a sense of gratitude and also a sense of great responsibility. Saim and the film are repping a whole country and we’re grateful to be in that position. I think we take that responsibility very, very seriously.”

The story follows a patriarchal family as they yearn for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls for a trans woman. The film explores a whole family, presenting a picture of a clan torn between modernity and tradition in contemporary Lahore.

Deadline’s review called the movie “a thoughtful, well performed and engrossing drama set in a culture that’s shifting, and not always with ease.”

Were there challenges shooting in Pakistan? The local industry has seen something of a resurgence in the past 15 years, Sadiq said, after cinema “took a beating” during the dictatorship of the 1980s. Today, there are some big commercial films and a handful of indies, “but the lines are very blurred because there are maybe 20 films maximum per year that have been made in the past 15 years. So it is very difficult, particularly in the city we shot in which is Lahore, that is not even the hub of either the television or whatever film industry you can see there. But it has its benefits too because I think the film industry is so new and culture is having kind of a rebirth moment, you can do whatever you want. There’s no rules, there’s nothing you can recognize as a mainstream Pakistani film because that decision is up for grabs in a way. Creatively, I think it’s liberating.”

Charan commented, however, that there was a lack of infrastructure and, “we tried to build that up while we were there. There was a lot of knowledge transfer from how we make films in the west and replicating that. The creative was still very Pakistani and authentic but what we put on top of it was the template of how we produce films in America. I think that worked really well in terms of execution.”

Watch more from our interview in the video above.

Aero is the official sponsor of the Deadline Studio at Cannes Film Festival, sponsors are Soia & Kyo and Jamones Iberico from Spain: Ambassadors of Europe in the World

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