As 2023 ends, Pakistan’s film industry continues to garner attention at foreign festivals. Zarrar Kahn’s In Flames and Sarmad Khoosat’s Kamli have won awards for their exceptional storytelling and artwork.
Kahn posted on Instagram about In Flames’ International Newcomer Award win at the International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg (IFFMH). The director captioned the post with the festival jury’s statement to express his excitement.
A filmmaker who shifts and plays with genre while connecting with his audience and protagonist wins our award. A great first performance and mise-en-scene bring the main character, a brave and sensitive young woman, to life. The declaration announced the Flames’ victory.
In the caption, Kahn said, “I still can’t believe we won. We appreciate all the amazing people who supported our film.” After Jamil Dehlavi’s 1980 film The Blood of Hussain and this year’s Toronto International Film Festival nominee, In Flames marks Pakistan’s return to the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.
Pakistan will compete for the international feature Oscar with Khan’s horror thriller. Kamli, Khoosat’s 2022 feature, won three important honors at the Minsk International Film Festival, a milestone.
The Listapad festival, Belarus’ largest film festival, awarded Saba Qamar Best Actor, Sarmad Khoosat Best Director, and the film Viewers’ Choice. Khoosat Films and the director celebrated on Instagram.
Khoosat’s 2019 film Zindagi Tamasha was Pakistan’s official submission to the 93rd Oscars for Best International Film and won worldwide praise and prizes. Khoosat released the film on YouTube and Vimeo on August 4, 2023, after religious protests prevented it from reaching local audiences despite approval from all three censor boards.
Flames, Kamli, and Saim Sadiq’s Joyland in 2023 alone have given artists optimism for Pakistani filmmaking, especially when dealing with subject themes incorrectly thought to be controversial.