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Pakistan's Academy Selection Committee has picked writer and director Saim Sadiq’s ‘Joyland’ as the country's entry for the International Feature Film Award category at the 95th Academy Awards.

The committee had called for film submissions earlier in August.

The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts, and Sciences will announce a shortlist on December 21 followed by an announcement on final Oscar nominees for all award categories on January 24, 2023.

The Oscars are slated to be held on March 12.

The selection committee, presided over this year by two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, author Omar Shahid Hamid, film critic Rafay Mahmood, actress Samina Ahmad and singer Ali Sethi. Other panelists on the committee included veteran actress Zeba Bakhtiar, cinematographer Mo Azmi and fashion designer Rizwan Beyg.

Pakistan's film 'Joyland' wins Jury Prize at Cannes

"We are delighted to be able to send one of our best to compete at the Academy Awards this year," said Obaid-Chinoy. "‘Joyland’ gives us hope that Pakistani cinema is finally leaving a mark on the world stage. This may just be the year we get noticed. Congratulations to the entire filmmaking team.”

Writer and director Saim Sadiq said he was humbled, thankful, and excited about the honour,

"To represent Pakistan at the Oscars with a film that I truly believe is an honest and compassionate representation of who we are as people,” Sadiq was quoted as saying in a publication.

Producers Apoorva Guru Charan and Sarmad Sultan Khoosat stated, “The journey of making ‘Joyland’ has brought together the most wonderful team from around the world, united in a truly South-Asian, universally human story from Pakistan. We are so grateful to the committee — with this entry, we get to share ‘Joyland’ with a larger audience. With love from Pakistan, to the world."

Pakistan film ‘Joyland’ debuts at Cannes

Joyland's storyline explores a patriarchal family system, yearning for a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls for an ambitious transsexual starlet.

The film has been lauded for its storyline and its representation of the queer community.

The film stars Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq, Sarwat Gilani, Sohail Sameer, Salman Peerzada, and Sania Saeed.

‘Joyland’ was Pakistan’s first competitive entry at Cannes and well-received, winning the Cannes Queer Palm prize as well as the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category. The film also elicited a 10 minute ovation from the audience at the screening.

The film is scheduled to be released across cinemas in Pakistan on November 18.

'Dream come true' for Pakistan's first Cannes screening

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