Filmmaker Saim Sadiq has walked away with an Orizzonti Award for Best Short Film at the recently concluded 76th Venice Film Festival 2019. Sadiq was present on the occasion to receive the trophy for his film, Darling, after which he gave an endearing acceptance speech.
“It feels so surreal to me to be standing here because a week ago my visa to come here was rejected,” he shared, adding that he got the visa two days before the screening of Darling at the festival. “I was in the customs line two hours before the screening and so when I get here, it just feels extremely surreal and kind of says a lot about the world that we live in today and the importance of what we do.”
“I am extremely grateful to be recognized at this kind of a platform,” he continued while he thanked his cast and crew as well as the jury.
Set in a Lahori dance theatre, Darling stars Mehar Bano, Abdullah Malik and Nadia Afgan, alongside transgender actor Alina Khan from Lahore, while Mo Azmi, who has Cake and Laal Kabootar to his name, served as the director of photography for the film.
Towards the end of his acceptance speech, Sadiq also thanked the transgender community back in Pakistan, particularly trans girls who wholeheartedly shared their stories with him, while allowing him to share his story too.