CinefestOZ awarded ALI’S WEDDING the title of Film Prize winner for 2017. Announced at the Gala Night presentations in Busselton, Western Australia on August 26, the filmmakers walked away with the significant sum of $100,000.
Directed by Jeffrey Walker and produced for Matchbox Pictures by Sheila Jayadev and Helen Panckhurst, Ali’s Wedding is an entertaining and moving comedy, based on the almost unbelievable true story of Osamah Sami. Written by Sami and Andrew Knight (Hacksaw Ridge, The Water Diviner), Sami stars alongside Don Hany (Offspring), playing himself in this affectionate and sure-fire crowd pleaser about family, duty and love in multi-cultural Australia.
In attendance to receive Australia’s greatest film prize at the glittering celebrations in Busselton were director Jeffrey Walker, executive producers Tony Ayers and Michael McMahon, producer Helen Panckhurst, co-writer and leading male Osamah Sami and actress Maha Wilson.Commenting on what this award means for the filmmakers, Walker said “I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful we are for this. Our film comes out on Thursday so this is quite literally the best thing that could happen for our picture”.
Adding to Walker’s sentiments, Sami said “This has been just remarkable, I’ve had some amazing feedback and it just fills me with joy because it’s bloody time we felt good about the world”.
The 10th Anniversary Festival received an overwhelming number of submissions for the Prize and the film was selected from fellow finalists AUSTRALIA DAY, MIFF@CinefestOZ film JUNGLE and THREE SUMMERS. They were judged by an industry Jury chaired by internationally acclaimed director, producer and screenwriter, Scott Hicks. On behalf of the Jury, Hicks said “Given the strength of the competition and robust deliberation, it was a great surprise that when we took our first toll around the table, the Jury choice was unanimous”.
Presenting the prize, Minister for Culture and the Arts, the Hon. David Templeman MLA said “I congratulate Ali’s Wedding on winning the CinefestOZ Film Prize. The film resonated with the Jury and audiences, and I’m sure the $100,000 prize will further the film’s success”.