Article: Studio Soho Distribution’s Joyland receives New Release support from BFI FAN

Pakistan’s Oscar hopeful Joyland, which was previously banned from cinemas in its home country, is the latest film to receive BFI FAN New Release support.

Set in the eastern city of Lahore, Saim Sadiq’s Joyland tackles issues of gender and sexuality – subjects that saw the film banned in its home country of Pakistan. The film will be released theatrically by Studio Soho Distribution on 24 February 2023.

Since summer 2018, BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) has been supporting four new release films each year to help exhibitors across the UK engage with more diverse audiences and programme titles that they traditionally would not book. BFI FAN members that screen New Release titles receive support from BFI FAN including marketing resources and social media budget.

Director Saim Sadiq’s drama, about a young man who falls in love with a trans woman, was banned in Pakistan just a week before its official release after the country’s Ministry of Information stated that the movie contained “highly objectionable material” and could not be shown in cinemas.

Set in bustling Lahore, the Ranases are, on the surface, a functional, patriarchal family.  The household is made up of Abbas, the elderly father, the older brother, Saleem and his wife Nucchi, and younger brother Haider and his wife Mumtaz.

Much to the embarrassment of his traditional father, Haider is the one in his relationship who stays at home, whilst Mumtaz goes to work at the salon every day- a job that she loves. When Haider gets a job in an erotic theatre as a backup dancer for trans starlet, Biba, and starts secretly dating her, everything changes, and the cracks that have always been there, tear the family apart.

BFI FAN members that screen Joyland can expect and request:

  • HoH captioned versions of the film
  • Marketing pack and assets including programme notes
  • Possible in-person director Q&A available to book.
  • Freelance marketing support in every Film Hub area
  • Advice from Inclusive Cinema for exhibitors putting on accessible screenings
  • Budget for Facebook/social media ads

Joyland is released on 24 February 2023 and can be booked via:

Previous New Release titles that have been support include Queen of Glory from Bohemia Media and Neptune Frost from Anti-Worlds Distribution.

For more information on how BFI FAN can support your screening, visit to download the marketing pack or email

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