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Pakistani Horror Film ‘In Flames’ Earns Oscar Nomination


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The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee (PASC) has made a significant decision regarding Pakistan’s official submission for Oscar consideration, and the chosen film is none other than ‘In Flames,’ directed by Zarrar Kahn and produced by Anam Abbas. This horror film will represent Pakistan in the race for the international feature Oscar, marking a remarkable achievement for Pakistani cinema.

‘In Flames’ initially premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight earlier this year, and its compelling narrative unfolds in the vibrant city of Karachi. The story revolves around a mother and daughter whose lives are shattered following the passing of the family’s head. They find themselves entangled with both tangible and spectral entities from their past, and their bond becomes their only refuge against the dark forces that encircle them.

Anam Abbas served as the movie’s producer, with Shant Joshi, Todd Brown, and Maxime Cottray as executive producers. The film is part of XYZ’s New Visions lineup, with XYZ joining the project the previous year, as reported by Variety.

Chairperson of the PASC, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, expressed his delight at selecting ‘In Flames’ as Pakistan’s official entry in the International Feature category at the 96th Academy Awards. He described the selection as a testament to the film’s brilliance and a pivotal moment in the evolving narrative of Pakistani cinema. He remarked, “‘In Flames’ is a testament to the boundless potential of Pakistani cinema on the global stage.”

Director Zarrar Kahn expressed his gratitude to Pakistan’s Oscar committee for recognizing the film. He mentioned that despite obtaining clearance from the local censor board, local distributors deemed the film too controversial, leading the team to self-distribute it in Pakistan. Khan shared, “The response from Pakistani audiences has been rapturous — and we’re just grateful to be able to show the film in the city it was made in.”

‘In Flames’ has not only earned acclaim in Pakistan but has also made a mark on the international stage, receiving recognition at prestigious film festivals such as Cannes, TIFF, Sitges, Busan, and Red Sea. The film stands out as a powerful call to action, shedding light on the harsh realities of patriarchy and the strength of community. In today’s divided world, it offers hope and solace to the oppressed, emphasizing that hope can never be extinguished.

The 2023 PASC jury, which played a crucial role in the selection, included renowned figures from the Pakistani film industry, such as acclaimed actor Ahmed Ali Akbar, award-winning director Bilal Lashari, activist and author Fatima Bhutto, international award-winning actor Fawad Khan, pioneering event manager and activist Frieha Altaf, Haya Fatima Iqbal, co-founder of the Documentary Association of Pakistan, award-winning documentary filmmaker Madeeha Syed, critically acclaimed director Mehreen Jabbar, veteran actor and director Nadia Afgan, and director Saim Sadiq, known for Pakistan’s last submission for Oscar consideration, ‘Joyland.’

‘In Flames’ is currently running in cinemas throughout Pakistan, and its nomination for Oscar consideration serves as a testament to the rising prominence of Pakistani cinema on the global stage, marking a significant milestone in the country’s cinematic journey.

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