A 10-minutes standing ovation, pride, and tears of joy are what the world witnessed, as team Joyland stood tall amongst the august audience at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Joyland left its viewers beaming with joy as they revelled in the world of Saim Sadiq’s creation. A young director/writer, who with his innate creative aesthetic and passion has given a reason to people back home something to celebrate. Joyland will definitely serve as an opportunity for many to learn and aspire towards bringing the change. Pakistani cinema was in need of a moment like Joyland.

Written and directed by Saim Sadiq, Joyland represented Pakistan at Cannes. Joyland is the first Pakistani feature film to make the official selection at the festival. The film has been selected for the Un Certain Regard category. Cannes only takes in a limited number of 14 films in the category and it is a moment of immense pride for the Pakistani film industry.

Saim’s feature film is a star-studded ensemble, starring Sarwat Gilani, Salman Peerzada, Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, and Rasti Farooq. The film is produced by Sarmad Khoosat, Apoorva Guru Charan, and Lauren Mann.

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Team Joyland

The Current reached out to the director Saim Sadiq, producer Sarmad Khoosat and female actor Sarwat Gilani and asked them about how they felt representing Pakistan, their work, and the journey of Joyland.

Saim, who is currently abroad, has a message for his people back home. Speaking to The Current, Saim said, “I hope people back home do watch Joyland and respond to it in the same way with love and appreciation, just like we received at Cannes.”

Saim Sadiq- Director Joyland

A creative genius when it comes to dramas and films, Sarmad Khoosat, who is the producer of Joyland, told The Current how “proud, overwhelmed, and emotional” these past few days have been for the team and him.

Khoosat while talking about Saim said, “This is Saim’s film. It is from his heart and his soul. It is many years that he has spent with this story. Right from the day he shared the story, I knew that there was a connection and truth to it which is exceptional and special.”

Selfie of Sarmad Khoosat and Saim Sadiq

Talking about his role as a producer, Khoosat said that he had not produced in a while and the journey on the other side of the camera was a little unnerving initially. But the joy he seemed to witness as the journey unfolded and seeing everything stamped on camera was rather fulfilling for Khoosat.

“It feels like a dream”, is what Khoosat said about Cannes. “I am very proud of this ensemble cast. They are truly special and what gifted actors, they are people made of dreams.”

Pakistan’s much-adored actress Sarwat Gilani spoke her heart out in her conversation with The Current. “Joyland for me means revolution for Pakistani cinema for sure. It talks about a lot of issues we hide away or feel shy to talk about.” Speaking about her director, Gilani said, “Saim is a very intelligent and a detailed-oriented person. He knew exactly what he wanted. The strings he wanted to pull in his audience’s heart, and well he was successful in doing that. I loved working with him and would look forward to working with him again. He made Joyland with a lot of responsibility and sensitivity.”

Talking about Cannes, Gilani said that it was a magical time for the team of Joyland.

Sarwat Gilani at Cannes

“It was an absolute honour to be there and represent Pakistan. And we are delighted to make history. The reception we got was unbelievable. Joyland received a 10-minute standing ovation and that in itself was a fulfilling reward for all of us,” said Gilani.

“Joyland is a call for empathy”, says Saim Sadiq. His debut film has received an overwhelming response from renowned world critics as well.

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Anupama Chopra, an Indian film critic writing about Saim said that “he is keenly observant of the deep-set biases we carry and the harshness with which we judge each other”.

“Joyland remains a thoughtful, well performed and engrossing drama set in a culture that’s shifting, and not always with ease,” writes Deadline.

We only hope and wish that Joyland is given its due credit back home and people reciprocate the same love and appreciation it has given to Pakistan. We all look forward to experiencing the joy and charm of Joyland on our screens, back home in Pakistan.