Ali Junejo Bags Best Actor Award for Joyland at Palm Springs Film Festival

Haider is making everyone his fan.

Saim Sadiq’s Joyland has won an award at the Palm Springs Film Festival. Ali Junejo, who plays Haider in the highly acclaimed film, was named Best Actor at the prestigious event.

Saim Sadiq announced the news on his Instagram, and it was also announced on Joyland’s social media outlets and the Palm Springs Film Festival’s official website.


Ali Junejo, who was unable to accept the award in person, conveyed his thanks via a video message. He said,

I’m really humbled, this is a huge honor. I am so proud that our little baby, Joyland, has gotten where it has. It’s been around the world and it’s been getting so much love from so many people. It’s really touching.

Have a look at the video,

He went on to recall,

I remember when we were making this film in Gawal Mandi, we just wanted to tell this story as honestly as possible. And look at where we are; the fact that I am doing this, the fact that we are shortlisted for the Academy Awards, it is the most amazing thing.

The actor thanked his director, Saim Sadiq, for giving him the role of Haider in the award-winning film.

He concluded his speech by thanking his theatre family, saying,

You guys, Sunil, Fawad – you believed in me for all these years, look at where we are now

The jury also mentioned recognizing Junejo for his exceptional performance in the successful movie.

We award the Best Actor Prize to Ali Junejo in Joyland for his intimate, thoughtful and nuanced performance as Haider, a man grappling with his diverging sense of self and familial responsibility.


Joyland is a striking portrait of a transgender dancer in Pakistan that originally gained attention when it received the Cannes LGBTQ Palm prize for best LGBT, queer, or feminist-themed movie.

It is a sexual revolution narrative about the youngest son in a patriarchal household who is expected to have a baby boy with his wife. Instead, he joins an exotic dance group and falls in love with the troupe’s director, a trans woman.

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