Pakistan has reversed its ban on Saim Sadiq’s Cannes-winning Oscar nominee Joyland, according to a senior government adviser. An official statement on the reversal was not yet available at the time of going to press.
Salman Sufi, the head of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s strategic reforms department, who has been a vocal opponent of the ban, announced the news on Twitter and in an interview with the AP news agency. He told AP the film is now allowed to release, albeit with some minor cuts.
“The decision is a simple but powerful message that the government stands by and protects free speech and cannot allow mere smear campaigns or disinformation to be used to stifle creative freedom,” Sufi told the AP.
On November 13, after Joyland was banned, Sufi tweeted: “Personally, I do not believe in banning films that highlight problems faced by marginalized sections of our society. People should be trusted to watch and form their own opinions. I will request my friend @Marriyum_A [Marriyum Aurangzeb, Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting] to see if it is possible to review the ban and meet Team #Joyland.”
On November 14, Sufi announced that Sharif had set up a high-level committee to review the film and review its ban. The committee examined the complaints and the reasons to decide on his release in Pakistan. On November 16, Sufi said the committee had recommended “a full review” of the film by the Censorship Board to “re-evaluate its suitability for screening.” It’s important not to speculate negatively about content without proof. The Management Board reviews and makes its recommendation.”
Pakistan’s Censorship Board had granted the film a censorship certificate on August 17, but the certificate was revoked by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on November 11, based on written complaints that the film was “repugnant” and contained “highly objectionable material inconsistent with conform to the social values and moral standards” of Pakistani society”.
The film’s protagonist secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls in love with a highly ambitious trans starlet.
Sadiq and the “Joyland” team had appealed the decision.
The film’s executive producer, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, spoke out against the ban in an impassioned post diversity.
On November 16, Sufi said: “The film #Joyland has been cleared for release by the Censor Board Review Committee formed at the direction of PM @CMShehbaz. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and should be promoted within the law.”
Sufi also thanked Sharif and Aurangzeb for “protecting freedom of expression in Pakistan”.
diversity has reached out to the film’s director and producers to clarify their updated plans.
One of the eligibility requirements in the Oscars International Feature category is a theatrical release in one’s home country. As first revealed by diversity, the film can also meet commercial screening requirements by being screened in a country other than the United States, and the film’s price strategists had chosen France. Condor Films will open the film in France for a week-long Oscar qualifying run.
https://variety.com/2022/film/asia/joyland-ban-reversed-pakistan-1235435200/ Joyland ban reversed, says Pakistan government adviser