The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee (PASC) has voted and deliberated upon which film would be Pakistan’s official submission for Oscar consideration. As per a press release, director Zarrar Kahn and producer Anam Abbas’s horror film, In Flames is the film that has been submitted for Oscar consideration.
Khan’s horror film, In Flames, represents Pakistan in the race for the international feature Oscar. Premiering at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight earlier this year, the story unfolds in Karachi. Following the demise of their family’s head, a mother and her daughter’s fragile life gets disrupted by entities from their history, both tangible and spectral. Their bond becomes their only hope against the dark forces that loom over them.
Anam Abbas produced the movie, with Shant Joshi, Todd Brown, and Maxime Cottray as executive producers. The film is featured in XYZ’s New Visions lineup. As reported by Variety, XYZ came on board with the project the previous year.
Chairperson of PASC, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, states, “As the Chair of the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee, it is with immense pride and a deep sense of responsibility that we select and submit ‘In Flames’ as Pakistan’s official entry for the International Feature category at the 96th Academy Awards. This selection not only underscores the film’s brilliance but also marks a pivotal moment in the evolving narrative of Pakistani cinema. ‘In Flames’ is a testament to the boundless potential of Pakistani cinema on the global stage.”
The director of the film, Kahn says, “I’m deeply honored that our film has been recognized by Pakistan’s Oscar committee. We’re currently self-distributing the film in Pakistan, as, despite clearance from the local censor board, we were considered too controversial by local distributors — so we’re doing it ourselves. 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.”
Kahn went on to add, “In Flames offers rare representation, both behind and in front of the camera, and through the resilience of our team the film continues to find its audience. In a year of incredible global cinema, ‘In Flames’ has stood with giants, and found acclaim from Cannes, TIFF, Sitges, Busan to Red Sea. The film is an urgent call to action, exposing the brutality of the patriarchy and the power of community. In today’s divided world, it offers solace to the oppressed — and tells them that hope can never be extinguished.”
The 2023 PASC jury includes acclaimed actor Ahmed Ali Akbar (Laal Kabootar, Parizaad), award-winning director Bilal Lashari (Waar, The Legend of Maula Jatt), activist and author Fatima Bhutto (New Kings of the World), international award-winning actor Fawad Khan (The Legend of Maula Jatt, Humsafar), Frieha Altaf, co-founder of the Documentary Association of Pakistan Haya Fatima Iqbal (A Girl in the River), award-winning documentary filmmaker Madeeha Syed (The Accused: Damned or Devoted?, The Killing of Qandeel), critically acclaimed director Mehreen Jabbar (Ramchand Pakistani, Dobara Phir Se) veteran actor and director Nadia Afgan (Kabuli Pulao, Parizaad) and director of Joyland, Pakistan’s last submission for Oscar consideration, Saim Sadiq. In Flames is currently running in cinemas throughout Pakistan.