Zarrar Kahn’s chilling cinematic masterpiece, ‘In Flames,’ has been selected as Pakistan’s official entry for the international feature Oscar. The film made its debut at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight earlier this year.
Set against the backdrop of Karachi, ‘In Flames’ delves into the lives of a mother and daughter whose fragile existence is torn asunder following the death of the family patriarch. Their world is besieged by both tangible and spectral figures from their past, and to survive the malevolent forces closing in on them, they must draw strength from their bond with each other.
The film is produced by Anam Abbas and boasts executive production from Shant Joshi, Todd Brown, and Maxime Cottray. It’s a significant part of XYZ’s New Visions slate, with the production company having come on board last year.
Mohammed Ali Naqvi, the chair of the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee, shared with Variety, “‘In Flames’ has resonated profoundly with our committee members, as it beautifully encapsulates the essence of our culture, art, and cinematic craftsmanship. We believe that the narrative, performances, direction, and every element that went into the making of your film make it the perfect candidate to represent the best of Pakistani cinema on a global platform.”
Expressing his gratitude for the recognition, Zarrar Kahn said, “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. ‘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.”
Kahn also described “In Flames” as “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.”
XYZ Films has successfully sold the film to various territories, including Canada (Game Theory), the U.K. (Blue Finch), Scandinavia (Nonstop), and France (Jokers), among others.
It’s worth noting that Pakistan has been submitting entries to the international feature Oscar category since 1959, with “Joyland” making it to the shortlist in 2022.