'Darling' by Columbia Filmmakers Premiering at Venice International Film Festival

Zoe Contros Kearl
August 01, 2019

Darling, a film directed and co-written by current student Saim Sadiq, co-written by current student Rodney Llaverias, co-produced by current student Jasmin Tenucci, and produced by alumnus Mahak Jiwani ‘18 will have its world premiere at the 76th Annual Venice International Film Festival. Darling will be the first ever Pakistani film to screen at the Venice Film Festival, which is the oldest festival of its kind. Darling is set in a dance theatre in Lahore and tells a tale of romance and coming-of-age. As a new show is introduced at the erotic dance theatre, a narrative unwinds in which a sacrificial goat goes missing, a dreamy trans girl desperately tries to become a star, and a naive young boy falls in love for the first time. 

The Film Festival is organized by La Biennale di Venezia, and will take place at Venice Lido from August 28 to September 7, 2019. The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. Darling will be part of the Orizzonti Short Films Competition, which is an international competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema. Sadiq said of the screening, "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 cast and crew are over the moon, to put it mildly."

Sadiq is a Pakistani filmmaker. His short film Nice Talking to You was an official selection at South by Southwest 2019, Palm Springs International Shortsfest 2019 and won Vimeo’s Best Director award at Columbia University Film Festival 2018. The film also made the BAFTA Shortlist for Best Student Film. A recipient of the Kodak Student Scholarship Gold Award, Sadiq is currently developing a pilot for MakeReady in Los Angeles and working on his first feature, Gulaab, which was selected for the Open Doors Hub at the 2018 Locarno Film Festival. He is currently pursuing his MFA at Columbia University.

Llaverias is a New York City native filmmaker who places great value on stories and visual story-telling. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and is currently pursuing his MFA at Columbia University.

Tenucci is a writer and director, known for Tempero SecretoLook Out For Cows, and Descompasso. She is pursuing her MFA at Columbia University.

Jiwani has produced films in Chile, USA, Japan, and Pakistan. In 2017, she produced Premonition in Chile, which won the Cacho Pallero Award at Huesca International Film Festival and screened Aspen ShortFest, SIFF and Palm Springs International ShortFest. Her film Horizon won the GiGadgets Technology Award and Darling was awarded the Katharina Otto-Bernstein Production Grant at Columbia University Film Festival. Jiwani received her MFA from Columbia University and works for Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions.