Australian romantic comedy filming at the University of Melbourne

December 15 / 173

Helana Sawires and Osamah Sami on the set of Ali's Wedding
Helana Sawires and Osamah Sami on the set of Ali's Wedding

You may have noticed wardrobe and food vans parked around the Parkville campus recently, and tableaux playing out in front of cameras on the grounds. That’s because the feature film Ali’s Wedding was being shot on location at the University.

Ali’s Wedding – backed by Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Screen NSW, White Hot Productions and the Adelaide Film Festival – is a stereotype-busting Australian romantic comedy based on the true story of Osamah Sami, the son of a Muslim Cleric, who migrated to Australia from Iraq. Through a series of well-intentioned lies, Osamah managed to convince his family he was enrolled as a medical student at the University of Melbourne. 

The film documents his attempts to live up to the expectations of his community and his father.

The film’s producer, Sheila Jayadev, said the University of Melbourne was a vital location for the shoot, given the real-life Osamah did actually attend lectures at the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

“We spent three wonderful days filming at the University, shooting scenes for our film at various locations around campus,” Ms Jayadev said.

“It was a special place to film not only because of its significance in Osamah’s story, but also for the array of visuals it offered us, from the grandeur of its sandstone arches, to the stunning design of its newer buildings. It has been terrific to partner with the University of Melbourne to bring this element of the film to life.”

Executive Producer, Tony Ayres, who is a Victorian College of the Arts alumnus, said it was fantastic to return to the old alma mater to film.

"Matchbox Pictures is so excited to bring Ali’s Wedding to life. When I heard Osamah Sami's real-life story, I knew it would one day make a great movie. 

“Now, more than ever, the world needs a film where the only mention of bombers is the Essendon Football Club.”

Osamah Sami, co-writer and lead actor said: “Hopefully telling this story will make up for my loitering and distracting security guards a decade ago.”

University of Melbourne Executive Director Marketing and Communications, Lara McKay, said the University welcomed productions onto the campus.

“Ali’s Wedding provides a great opportunity to showcase the University’s Parkville campus to people across our city, state, the country and potentially globally.

“We’ve welcomed crews from large scale productions in recent years such as Lion, and Predestination. 

“Usually these films don’t actually depict the location as the University of Melbourne so Ali’s Wedding is interesting in that regard, and we are so pleased to be able to support such an important Australian film.”

Story by Jane Gardner


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