My Pure Land, the debut feature from Nottingham director Sam Masud, has been selected as Britain’s official choice of Best Foreign Language Film for the 2018 Academy Awards. If nominated, it will become only the third UK submission to be nominated for the award, and the first since 1999’s Solomon and Gaenor.
Both set and filmed in Pakistan, My Pure Land is the extraordinary true story of Nazo Dharejo who, along with members of her family, bravely defended her land and home against over 200 armed bandits. Masud financed the film independently before the project attracted interest from producer Bill Kenwright, with Independent handling the film’s international sales. It is being released in selected cinemas across the UK, including a week-long run at Broadway Cinema from Friday 15th September.
My Pure Land premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June, where it was also shortlisted for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature, and has so far been met with universal critical praise, particularly for its direction, cinematography and the lead performance of Suhaee Abro. The film also stars Eman Malik, Syed Tanveer-Hussain, Razia Malik, Atif Akhtar Bhatti, Tayyab Azfal and Ahsen Murad, all of whom Masud selected following a lengthy casting process in Pakistan, as My Pure Land becomes Britain’s first ever Urdu-language submission in the category.
Should My Pure Land be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, Masud will become the first Nottingham director to get an Oscar nomination in any category. He will only be the second person from Notts to be nominated by the Academy, joining Clifton’s Samantha Morton, who received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown in 2000, and a Best Actress nod for her role as Sarah in Jim Sheridan’s In America in 2002.
Samud, whose competition includes Hussein Hassan’s The Dark Wind (Iraq), In The Fade (Germany) by Fatih Akin and Hun Jang’s A Taxi Driver (South Korea), will learn if My Pure Land has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the official Academy Award Nominations announcement on 23rd January 2018.
My Pure Land is screening at Broadway Cinema between Friday September 15th and Thursday September 21st