'Darling' Wins Special Jury Recognition at 2020 South By Southwest Film Festival

Felix Van Kann
April 09, 2020

Darling, 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 alumna Mahak Jiwani ’18, continues to make waves on the festival circuit, winning the Special Jury Recognition Prize at this year’s South by SouthwestXSW festival. Although the festival was cancelled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers still announced award winners out of the previously selected films. Darling was one of six films by Columbia filmmakers to be part of the festival.

According to the SXSW jury, “This dramatic short wowed judges with its story, performances and execution. A stunning work about the complicated social dynamics of queer love that says so much through simple looks and gestures. Its most poignant moments are almost entirely speechless.”

Darling was one of the breakout successes of Columbia filmmakers last year when it  won the prestigious Orizzonti Award for Best Short Film at the 76th Annual Venice International Film Festival. 

Set in an erotic dance theatre in Lahore, Darling tells a tale of romance and coming-of-age. As the theatre prepares for a new show, a sacrificial goat goes missing, a dreamy trans girl vies for the spotlight, and a naive young boy falls in love.

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.

Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conferences and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. For nine days in March, creatives of all stripes gather for the acclaimed SXSW Film Program to celebrate raw innovation and emerging talent both behind and in front of the camera. Running concurrent with the SXSW Conference and Music and Comedy Festivals, attendees can take advantage of the opportunity to connect with tech and music industry experts, making the SXSW Film Festival an unparalleled experience at the forefront of discovery, creativity, and innovation.