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Oscar-winning actor and producer Riz Ahmed has joined 'Joyland' as its executive producer, citing it as "one of the best films of the year." 'Joyland' is Pakistan's entry for the Academy Awards in the "Best International Feature Film" category.

His announcement comes after activist and producer Malala Yousafzai also joined the team as executive producer. Jemima Khan is also an executive producer on the project.

The film made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, a first for Pakistan, winning the Jury Prize and the Queer Palm.

'Joyland' actor Sarwat Gilani speaks on Pakistan-India relations, cross-border cultural exchange

Ahmed took to Instagram on Thursday to make the announcement, writing: "We are so proud at Left Handed Films to be a part of @joylandmovie. Our motto is “go left” and Saim Sadiq’s unique film does just that. JOYLAND is ground-breaking. And it's easy to get lost in all the ways that it is; the first Pakistani film at Cannes, the first award-winner, the first to be Oscar shortlisted, and a queer love story that has overcome multiple bans. But more important than any of the glass ceilings it smashes, is how this film so masterfully breaks our hearts.

"Saim Sadiq’s filmmaking is both understated and gut-wrenching. His writing is consistently unexpected, and every scene is so elegantly composed but still bursting with raw performances. JOYLAND is one of the best films of the year, and against all odds of resources and marketing budgets, it's been amazing to see festival juries, audiences, and critics shouting that from the rooftops."

Ahmed won an Oscar for his role in the film 'Sound of Metal' released in 2020.

In 2021, Ahmed produced the animated documentary film 'Flee' which was nominated for Best International Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature and Best Animated Feature at the 94th Academy Awards. He co-wrote 'The Long Goodbye' also was adapted into a short film, directed by Aneil Karia and won Best Live Action Short Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

The director of 'Joyland', Saim Sadiq, also took to Instagram to comment on the development, citing, "We are so very excited to have @rizahmed on board."

“Riz and his production company have a track record of exquisite taste and having them on board further affirms our belief in both the urgency and universality of ‘Joyland'," Sadiq was quoted as saying by Variety.

'Joyland' tells the story of the youngest son in a patriarchal family who joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for the troupe's director, a transperson.

The movie features Alina Khan, Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, Sarwat Gilani, Salman Peerzada, and Sania Saeed and was announced as Pakistan's official submission for the 95th Academy Awards in September.

The film's release in Pakistan was mired in controversy as it was banned due to "objectionable" material, causing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to order a review. Following minor edits, the film has now been released.

'Joyland': Pakistan reverses ban on movie

Last week, it was announced that the film will be distributed in the United States by Oscilloscope Laboratories for screening later this year.

Also last week, the Academy further shortlisted the entries in the Best International Feature Film down to 15, with 'Joyland' making the cut.

The final list of nominees will be announced on January 24.

The Oscar ceremony is slated to take place on March 12 and will be hosted by late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel.

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

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