Achievement Unlocked: Pakistani film ‘Darling’ makes it to Venice Film Festival

Saim’s film is the first-ever film from Pakistan to make it to the Big Three film festivals.


Renowned Pakistani filmmaker Saim Sadiq’s masterwork ‘Darling’ has made its way to the Venice Film Festival, which is the world’s oldest film festival.

Having been recorded in Lahore, Darling is set in a dance theater in the City of Gardens and tells the story of a transgender girl and young boy. Breaking the conventional heteronormative narratives, Darling narrates experiences that go unheard.

‘Darling’ is the first Pakistani film to make it to three big festivals:

Saim’s film is the first-ever film from Pakistan to make it to the Big Three film festivals: Berlin, Venice, and Cannes.

The film’s cast includes Abdullah Malik, playing the main character Shani, along with another protagonist named Alina, who is the transgender girl. The role is played by Alina, a trans girl from Lahore, who made her acting debut with this film. The cast also includes upcoming actress Mehar Bano and Nadia Afgan of ‘Suno Chanda’.

Saim Sadiq, the director, is a 28 years old filmmaker belonging to Lahore. He is a graduate of Columbia University in New York. Nadia Afgan and Mahak Jiwani are film’s producers, along with Fahad Nabi and Jasmin Tennuci as co-producers. Mo Azmi, the producer of the movie ‘Cake’ and ‘Laal Kabootar’, is the photography director.

One thing that stands out about Sadiq’s project is that it’s figurative. We have seen many projects previously that tell the story of individuals belonging to privileged groups and narrative the experiences of marginalized groups, in a hope to give them a voice. But, this dominates the narrative of disenfranchised and silences their voices which are barely heard.

With Abdullah Malik playing the role of Shani and Alina being played by an actual transgender girl from Lahore, the mic is being passed to the people at the margins.

Sharing his excitement, Saim Sadiq stated on social media:

‘’We are beyond excited that Darling is going to have its World Premiere at the 76th Venice Film Festival. It’s the first Pakistani film to screen at the world’s oldest film festival and my team and I are over the moon, to put it mildly.”

”I really want to thank my amazing crew for their time effort and talent, from our fantastic producers Nadia Afgan Mahak Jiwani Fahad Nabi and Jasmin Tenucci (the only non-Pakistani on the crew who flew all the way from Brazil for the film) to my co-writer and the queer force behind the film Rod Llaverias to Sana Jafri my ad and the biggest reason this film was made possible to the most collaborative, intelligent and supportive DP MO Azmi and of course Gulshan Majeed Jana Malik for all the glamour. And the most talented and eager group of actors Abdullah Malik Mehar Bano Alina Khan’’

Darling will premiere in Venice in  September of this year.

Also See: Indians Turned Fan As Pakistani Film Cake Airs On Netflix

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