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Saim Sadiq-directed feature 'Joyland' was nominated in the Best International Film category at the 38th iteration of the Independent Spirit Awards, reported Variety on Tuesday.

'Joyland' was nominate alongside 'Corsage' (Austria/Luxembourg/France/Belgium/Italy/England), directed by Marie Kreutzer, 'Leonor Will Never Die' (Philippines), directed by Martika Ramirez Escobar, 'Return to Seoul' (South Korea/France/Belgium/Romania), directed by Davy Chou and 'Saint Omer' (France), directed by Alice Diop.

The Independent Spirit Awards honour independent voices working outside the major studio system. This also marks the award’s first lineup with gender-neutral acting categories.

The winners are chosen by members of Film Independent and will be announced on March 4, 2023. Television nominees will be announced on December 13.

Objection on petition against ‘Joyland’ overruled

This year, a little over 400 films were submitted for consideration, a record number for the organisation. The committees selected nominees from over 25 different countries. Of all nominated writers and directors, 61% are women and 34% are BIPOC. Of all nominated actors, 70% are women and 27% are BIPOC. And of all 2023 nominees, 51% are women and 33% are BIPOC.

'Joyland', Pakistan's entry for the Oscars this year, has been collecting critical acclaim, picking up awards on the international film festival circuit this past year including the Queer Palm and the Jury Prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Directed and co-written by Sadiq, the film tells the story of Haider (Ali Junejo) who while working as a background dancer falls in love with Biba (Alina Khan), a transgender person.

‘Joyland’ shortlisted as Pakistan's entry at the Oscars in 2023

The film has been mired in controversy due to recent bans on its screening in Pakistan over its subject matter and storyline, including a recent ban on screening in Punjab.

The film seems to be well on its way to open all across Pakistan after Justice Muzammil Akhtar Shabbir of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday overruled a registrar office’s objection on a petition against the exhibition of the movie 'Joyland' and directed the office to fix it before any appropriate bench.

'Joyland': Pakistan reverses ban on movie

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