By Anita Tai.

Pakistan’s “Joyland” is trying to qualify for the Academy Awards with an emergency plan.

The film, which is the country’s entry for the 2023 edition of the Oscars, will have a seven-day theatrical run in France, through its French distributor Condor Films.

“The Oscar qualifying run pre-release has been confirmed at Aix en Provence Cinémas Mazarin and Renoir, one of the top ten arthouse cinemas in France,” Condor Films told Deadline. “It will play from 22 November every day for a week at 18:00. It will be followed by a nationwide release in France on the 28th of December.”

The move is part of the strategy team’s attempt to have the film qualify by adhering to the Academy rule of having contenders shown in countries outside of their origin for at least seven days.

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The stipulation would mean the film could compete in the International Film category. To be eligible for other categories, it would also have to have a week-long release in the U.S.

The window for the film to qualify will be tight, however, as the qualification deadline is Nov. 30.

Originally, the film was slated to compete in the awards show without complications as it was granted a censor certificate from Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Aug. 17, but the decision was reversed. The board stated the film contained “highly objectionable” material.

Pakistan is also not able to retroactively choose a different film for its submission.

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Director and co-writer Saim Sadiq expressed his frustration with the ban on his Instagram, calling for support from fans.

“Please help us in by getting our voice to #ReleaseJoyland seen and heard by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Minister @marriyum_aurangzeb @shehbazsharif,” he captioned the post.

He called the sudden reversal “absolutely unconstitutional and illegal”.

“Joyland” follows the story of background dancer Haider, the youngest son of the Ranas family, who falls in love with Biba, a transgender woman.


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Ellen Bullock