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Riz Ahmed joins Pakistan’s Oscar contender Joyland as executive producer: ‘It’s a queer love story that has overcome multiple obstacles to its release’

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 25: Riz Ahmed attends the 93rd Annual Academy Awards at Union Station on April 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Academy and Emmy award winner Riz Ahmed announced on social media yesterday that he had joined the much-talked-about Pakistani film Joyland as an Executive Producer. His production company Left Handed Films is onboard to executive produce the film which revolves around a patriarchal family craving for a baby boy to continue the family line while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance group and falls for a trans woman.

Joyland is written and directed by Saim Sadiq and has been shortlisted for best international feature film at the 95th Academy Awards, as Pakistan’s official entry. Calling the film ‘ground breaking’, Ahmed praised Sadiq’s writing and direction and also the performances of the actors.

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 obstacles to its release,” said Ahmed and Left Handed Films executive Allie Moore in a statement announcing the partnership. “But more important than any of the glass ceilings it smashes is how this film so masterfully breaks our hearts.”

The statement continues, “Saim Sadiq’s filmmaking is both understated and gut-wrenching. His writing is consistently unexpected — both unflinchingly joyous and devastating. His every scene is so elegantly composed yet bursting with vividly raw characters and 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.”

“I am excited that Riz and Left Handed Films will be joining Joyland as EPs,” added Sadiq. “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.”

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