Columbia Filmmakers Screen at Cannes 2022: 'Joyland' Takes Home Jury Prize

Angeline Dimambro
June 02, 2022

Update: June 1, 2022

After 11 days of screenings and celebrations, winners of the 75th Festival de Cannes have been announced. Congratulations to Joyland by Saim Sadiq '19, which took home the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category. 

This prestigious win comes after an exciting few days at the festival for the Joyland team. As the first Pakistani film to be selected for Cannes, Joyland was already set to make history, but the trailblazing film about sexual revolution in a patriarchal family made waves at the festival, receiving a standing ovation after its screening. 

The film follows a patriarchal family as they hope for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls for an ambitious trans starlet. 

Sadiq, who co-wrote, directed, and produced the film, drew inspiration from his own upbringing in Lahore and a theater close to his home. "I came from a very morally upright, middle-class conservative family," Sadiq shared in an interview with Variety, "and to find out that this other world exists, literally like a 10-minute drive from my house, that I never knew of…It's so different, the world of the theater, where sexuality is not such a taboo, where women can get on stage and be in such positions of power, where this is a certain form of erotica. It’s the same people who are probably sitting at a family dinner in my house, who probably are later going in and watching those shows sometimes, and then pretending that they’re not the same person existing in both worlds. For me, it became an interesting way of examining myself, my family and the world around me with a particular focus on gender and intimacy."

Joyland is produced by Apoorva Charan '18, co-written by Maggie Briggs '19, and edited by Jasmin Tennuci '20. Film alumna and Dean's Council member Katharina Otto-Bernstein '92 ('86 CC) - whose mentorship program has set up many Film alumni for success - also serves as a producer on the film, after Sadiq's previous short film Darling was a recipient of the Katharina Otto-Bernstein grant. Associate Professor Ramin Bahrani (CC ’96) serves as Executive Producer and Mona Maahn '22 as Associate Producer. 

The creative team also includes Rob Bellon '19Esteban Garcia Vernaza '20Bane Fakih '19Mark Sean Haynes '17, and Kaiser Wahab '99 (Law).

See the full Cannes 2022 winners list here

Original: May 4, 2022

Four films by Columbia filmmakers will take part in the internationally esteemed 2022 Cannes Film Festival. They are: JoylandSame OldDark Nature, and Requiem for a Robot.  This year marks the 75th season of the Festival de Cannes, which will run from May 17-28, 2022.

“In order to achieve this level of longevity, the Festival de Cannes has remained faithful to its founding purpose: to draw attention to and raise the profile of films, with the aim of contributing towards the development of cinema, boosting the film industry worldwide and celebrating cinema at an international level,” said Cannes Film Festival delegate general Thierry Frémaux in a press release. “And to this day, this profession of faith constitutes the first article of the Festival regulations.”

Joyland, which will compete in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, is co-written and directed by alumnus Saim Sadiq '19. Sadiq is among eight total filmmakers in this year’s Un Certain Regard lineup making their directorial debut. The section will feature 20 films in total, including nine movies directed by female filmmakers.

The film follows a patriarchal family as they yearn for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for an ambitious trans starlet. Their impossible love story begins to illuminates the entire family's desire for a sexual rebellion.

The film is produced by Katharina Otto-Bernstein '92 and Apoorva Charan '18, co-written by Maggie Briggs '19, and edited by Jasmin Tennuci '20. Associate Professor Ramin Bahrani (CC ’96) serves as Executive Producer on the film as well.

Still from 'Joyland'

Same Old, produced by alumnus Tony Yang '20, will compete in the festival's Short Films Competition. From over 3,500 submissions, only nine short films will be presented in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by filmmaker Lloyd Lee ChoiSame Old follows one New York City delivery driver on a particularly bad night. Current student Ricardo Varona served as the grip on this short film.

The Marché du Film will take place May 17-25, 2022. The Marché du film is the business counterpart of the Cannes Film Festival and one of the largest, most inspiring film markets in the world. The nine days of the market will feature exclusive film showcases, conferences, and networking events. There are also two spectacular initiatives that focus on the genre film industry: the Fantastic 7 pitch sessions and the Frontières co-production market.

Fantastic 7 brings together seven total films, each one hand selected by one of its participating top-notch international film festivals, including Sitges—International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, Cairo International Film Festival, Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara, South by Southwest Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and the New Zealand International Film Festival. The selected filmmakers are given the opportunity to present their project at a pitch session and connect with potential business partners.

'Same Old' promotional image

This year, the Toronto International Film Festival has chosen Dark Nature from alumna Berkley Brady ’14 as its official featured selection. In Dark Nature, a therapy group is forced to confront the monsters of their past when an isolated weekend retreat in the Canadian Rockies tests not only their emotional resilience, but their ability to survive.

Also to be presented at the Marché du Film as part of The Frontières co-production market is Requiem for a Robot, directed by Christoph Rainer '15. This film is a live-action science fiction fairytale following a clumsy robot lost in a city that never sleeps. Requiem for a Robot will be presented in the Proof of Concept pitching session, which comprises seven projects in advanced stages of financing. On May 21, the selected films will be presented in front of prospective financiers, sales agents, and distributors.

Two bloodied people hugging

The Frontières Platform is the leading international industry initiative for genre film professionals. Organized by the Fantasia International Film Festival in collaboration with Marché du Film of the Festival de Cannes, Frontières connects genre filmmakers with industry professionals in an aim to promote co-production and collaboration. Frontières success stories include notable films such as Raw (Julia Ducournau, 2016), The Void (Steven Kostanski & Jeremy Gillespie, 2016), Are We Not Cats (Xander Robin, 2016), and many more.

Click here for more information about the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

'Requiem for a Robot' promotional image