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Movies to watch out for, From Pakistan!

Pakistani short film "Darling" wins award at Venice Film Festival.


September 08, 2019

Directed by Saim Sadiq, the Pakistani short film "Darling" has won the award for Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival .The film features upcoming actress Mehar Bano, Abdullah Malik, and Nadia Afgan.

Alina Khan, a transgender actress from Lahore, plays a transgender character in the story. This film marks her acting debut.

"Darling" tackles the lack of transgender representation in the country's visual arts, and is bound to engage with emotions and relationships that have previously not been the subject of films in Pakistan. The film is also the first ever Pakistani film to have been screened in competition at the Venice Film Festival .

The short has previously been screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the director Sadiq's previous short film, "Nice Talking To You", has also been screened at multiple film festivals in the United States.

Mo Azmi, one of the co-producers of "Darling", also produced and shot two feature-length Pakistani films that received critical appreciation, Laal Kabootar and Cake.
Donkey King Makes a Whopping 7.5 Million in South Korea!


LAHORE (Dunya News) – Pakistan’s most successful animated movie ‘The Donkey King’ a.k.a Donkey Raja was released in South Korea where it collected a whopping amount of Rs7.6 million in its five-day long weekend.

According to a local magazine, albeit its slow start on the opening day i.e. Friday, the film managed to pace up on the weekend. As per a leading box office site, approximately 67% of the film’s total business rolled in on Saturday and Sunday. Seeing the trend it is expected that Donkey King will be cashing in some massive numbers in the coming weeks as well.

According to Entertainment Pakistan, The Donkey King, which was dubbed in the local language, raked in $ 7,347 (a little over PKR 11 lacs) on Wednesday, taking the 23rd spot on the box office chart. The animated film was released alongside Bollywood hit Andhadhun, which earned $ 14,801 on the first day and landed on the 12th spot.

On Thursday and Friday, The Donkey King raked in $4,035 (more than PKR 6 lacs) and $4,801 (approximately PKR 7.5 lacs) respectively. However, the animated production picked up on the fourth and fifth day and earned a whopping $16,651 (PKR 27 lacs) on Saturday and $15,138 (PKR 24 lacs) on Sunday – making a huge jump to the 15th position and raking in a total of $47,936 (PKR 76 lacs) in just five days.

Directed by Aziz Jindani, and starring Afzal Khan Rambo, Hina Dilpazeer and Ismail Tara in leads Donkey King is dubbed as Pakistan’s biggest animated film. Till date, it’s the only animated release to hit Rs200 million mark on box office.
Saba Qamar has signed her next movie

The film, directed and produced by Sarmad Khoosat will release around Eid-ul-Fitr next year.


The film will release around Eid-ul-Fitr next year.

After conquering television with her performance in Cheekh, Saba Qamar is all set to return to the big screen.

The actor will be appearing in Sarmad Khoosat's directorial titled Kamli, which is tentatively set to release on Eid-ul-Fitr next year.

Speaking to Images, she shared, "My role in this movie is entirely different from all the other roles I have done so far; the character is very close to me yet it's requiring a lot of hard work, from being physically fit to attending a proper workshop for the movie. The character will offer many shades and I have not performed a role of the sort in my entire career till date. The story is pretty interesting and is about intense romance."

"I see Kamli being a bigger film than Hindi Medium," she added.

The flick has been written by Fatima Sattar and Khoosat (who's also producing).
The Donkey King is ready to be the first Pakistani film to release in Spain



The film will have over 50 screens across the country


After making waves in South Korea, The Donkey King has set its course to Spain.

That's right, Aziz Jindani's animated political satire is all geared up to have a wide theatrical release in over 50 screens across the country, and will be dubbed in three languages - Spanish, Catalan and Basque - and titled El Rey Burro, El Rei Ruc and Asto Erregea respectively. The trailers for both the Spanish version and the Catalan version are already out!

This is the first Pakistani film to be released in Spain.


Said Jindani, “We are ecstatic that Donkey King has found resonance with global cine distributors. It is proof that a good story, grounded in universal insight, has the ability to transcend boundaries and geographical barriers. We are not done yet though... Spain se aagay jehan aur bhi hain (there is a long way ahead after Spain too)."

The Donkey King will haves its Spanish premiere on October 4.
Sarmad Khoosat's Zindagi Tamasha bags international nomination ahead of its release

The film has been selected to screen at Busan International Film Festival and nominated for the Kim Jiseok Award.


The film has already been selected to screen at Busan International Film Festival

Zindagi Tamasha has gotten our attention and also some international appreciation.

The film, Sarmad Khoosat's second feature film, is ready to premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea before it's release in Pakistan. But to add to that accomplishment, the movie has also been nominated for the Kim Jiseok Award.
Khoosat Films@KhoosatFilms

Thank you all for the support!

4:06 AM - Oct 1, 2019
According to the official synopsis, the film is "an intimate portrait of a family as well as a scorching political commentary on little gods on this earth who police our private passions.” The end of the teaser also hints that the flick will also be shedding a light on the misuse of blasphemy law.

There is no confirmed release date for Zindagi Tamasha in Pakistan as of yet.
Shamoon Abbasi's upcoming film Durj banned in Pakistan

The film was initially cleared by Punjab and Sindh, but has been rejected by the federal censor board.


The film was initially cleared by Punjab and Sindh, but was most likely rejected by the federal censor board.

Actor-producer Shamoon Abbasi’s upcoming film Durj seems unlikely to be released in theatres across Pakistan as its censor approvals hit a snag.

Abbasi told Images the film was initially cleared by film censor boards in both Punjab and Sindh, but rejected by the federal censor board.

“Suddenly, something happened; [the clearances from Punjab and Sindh] got revoked and the ones pending were put on hold. This is what we know for now and definitely, we will have to counter the process.”


Slated for an October 11 international release, the film will simultaneously release in multiple countries including US, UK, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. It was intended to be released on October 18 in Pakistan.

Abbasi is unsure what could have been objectionable in the film, which is based on the true story of a pair of brothers who dug up over 100 graves and cannibalised the corpses. He says the objection would be more understandable had there been a unanimous rejection from all four provincial censor boards as well as the federal censor board based in Islamabad.

“We never wanted to glorify cannibalism. It [has] a storyline, and in the film, we researched about the mindset of these people and we tried to get at the root cause and the thought process so that others can understand how they think and act.”

“It's a very sensitive film with no blood or gore, it’s not the type of film to be banned outright as such, so I am not sure what happened,” Abbasi added.

"Members of Central Board of Film Censors viewed the feature film as per prevalent censorship rules and did not consider it appropriate for public exhibition in cinema houses," Danyal Gilani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors, told Images.

The Islamabad film censor board did not respond to calls for comment from Images at the time of writing.

Abbasi admitted that he and his team had not planned on releasing Durj in Pakistan at all, but decided to go ahead after receiving an overwhelming response when international release dates were announced.

“I said it will be released [in Pakistan], but honestly, we had a hunch that it could be a problem. But when it came to the censor board and — apart from two minor nude scenes — it was cleared, and we thought everything is fine because the film doesn't have that sort of blood and gore.”

Once a film is rejected clearance for release, there is a process in place to appeal the decision. Abbasi hopes it will work in his favour.

“All I can say is we need a final panel to review it and be kind to us one last time, and give us a reason why two boards approved it and one federal didn’t. That’s the confusion at the moment.”
Laal Kabootar bags Best Film at Tasveer South Asian Film Festival

The festival is touted to be one of USA's largest South Asian film festivals.


Laal Kabootar it wins big at the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival.

Laal Kabootar has added yet another feather to its cap as it brought home an award from the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival.

After becoming Pakistan's entry to the Oscars and earning Ahmed Ali Akbar a win at the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival, the film bagged Best Feature Film through the TSAFF's Archana Soy Audience Choice Awards.

Tasveer is touted to be one of USA's largest South Asian film festivals, claiming to have a "mission is to engage and educate the community through thought-provoking films, stories, and issues from South Asia & its diaspora".

Here's a Q&A at the festival with one of Laal Kabootar's producer, Kamil Chima and its lead actor, Akbar:
Busan: Pakistan’s
Sat, 10, 19

The actor and director talks to Variety about his next film Kamli that will feature Saba Qamar in the lead role.


Pakistani actor/director Sarmad Sultan Khoosat’s next film will be Kamli. Principal photography commences this week at locations across Pakistan. Pakistani superstar Saba Qamar (Hindi Medium), Sania Saeed (Manto) and Hamza Khwaja, star.

“A tragic love story at heart, the film is going to be a fresh mix of a rustic setting captured in a contemporary, universal sensibility,” Khoosat told Variety. “Unlike other films of the genre, Kamli is not only going to depict the vibrancy and humour of rural Punjab, but also its poetic lyricism and love-lore in an international film aesthetic.”

A tentative release is set for Summer 2020. Khoosat Films is producing.

Khoosat’s Circus of Life (Zindagi Tamasha) had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival where it’s also nominated for the prestigious Kim Ji-seok award. Set in Lahore, the film chronicles the chaos that ensues in the life of a staid, devout elderly man when a video featuring him gets uploaded onto social media.

“What was most important to me was exploring the idea of tolerance. Tolerance not just to others (to allow people to exist the way they are) but also tolerance to self – and this is where the concept of shame, need for approval, etc. come in to play,” said Khoosat.

“I have been in situations where I have felt I should have been more tolerant of others and more accepting of my own self,” he added.

Circus will release in Pakistan in January 2020 after its festival run. Speaking about the current state of the Pakistani film industry, Khoosat shared, “The misfortune with our industry in the 1980s and 1990s was that it did not cater to a wider audience. But the last two decades have seen a nice variety of films come out, and the revival of Pakistani cinema.

“The mainstream is governed by commerce, but very interesting parallel cinema has also made its space – films like Moor (which was screened at Busan as well), Cake, Laal Kabootar, and even my first film Manto.” The challenge remains financial support for genres beyond comedy or romance.

Ongoing political tensions with neighbouring India have resulted in the ban of the hugely popular Bollywood films in Pakistan, which has had a knock on effect on the country’s theatrical exhibition industry. “The absence of Indian films has highlighted just how nascent the Pakistani industry still is,” said Khoosat.
Sharmeen Obaid's animated film Sitara is coming to Netflix

The film addresses the issue of child marriages.


The film addresses the issue of child marriages.

Sharmeen Obaid's animated short Sitara is all geared up to release on Netflix.

The silent film revolves around a young girl named Pari who dreams about being a pilot but ends up being married off. The story is depicted through the eyes of her younger sister, Mehr.

“Waadi Animations is proud to have created an animated short that is at par with the best of the world and we are delighted that SITARA will be available to a global audience on Netflix. We hope it will lead to thoughtful discussions as we also begin screening the film in schools and community centers around the world. We strongly believe that Investing in the dreams of young girls will lead to a more equitable world.” said Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

Sitara is slated to be a 2020 release.
Sarmad Khoosat reveals why Zindagi Tamasha's trailer was removed from YouTube

We also have a release date.


Sarmad Khoosat’s directorial debut, Zindagi Tamasha, has already made a mark on the film festival circuit (the flick bagged Kim Ji Seok Award at Busan International Film Festival) but it seems like it might have run into some trouble back home even before its release.

The movie's trailer disappeared from YouTube recently, raising eyebrows; judging from the teasers and trailer, the film will aim to shed a light on the misuse of blasphemy law.

Clearing the air, Sarmad shared, "Khoosat Films took down the trailer from YouTube themselves. A trailer is just a tiny part of the entire film, there's no context so a few people had some issues regarding the content of that clip and we took that into account. After minor tweaks, we'll reupload it soon enough."

The filmmaker also announced that the movie will be releasing on 24 January, 2020.

Directed and co-produced by Sarmad, along with his sister, Kanwal Khoosat and written by Nirmal Bano, Zindagi Tamasha is a bilingual film, mostly shot in Punjabi.

The movie's cast features Arif Hassan, Samiya Mumtaz, Eman Suleman and Ali Qureshi in pivotal roles and the soundtrack has been composed by Lux Style Award winners, Saakin.

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