FESTIVALS: Ali’s Wedding wins top award in Sydney

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Jeffrey Walker’s romantic comedy Ali’s Wedding won the top award in the narrative feature section of the audience awards at this year’s Sydney Film Festival.

Starring Osamah Sami, the film is about the son of a Muslim cleric who fakes enrollment at the University of Melbourne to impress the girl of his dreams. Produced by Australia’s Matchbox Pictures and Emerald Productions, the film is scheduled for Australian release in August.

The top award in the documentary section of the Foxtel Movies Audience Awards also went to an Australian film – Kate Hickey’s Roller Dreams, about the roller dancing craze in California in the 1980s.

“This year Ali’s Wedding and Roller Dreams, two wonderful films that both take on remarkable true stories, have clearly made a strong impact on audiences,” said Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley.

Other audience winners in the narrative category include Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name (Italy-France), Rhiannon Bannenberg’s Rip Tide (Australia), Gregory Erdstein’s That’s Not Me (Australia) and Dave McCary’s Brigsby Bear (US).

On Body And Soul, directed by Hungary’s Ildikó Enyedi, was awarded the Sydney Film Prize from a selection of 12 official competition films.

Sydney filmmakers Sascha Ettinger Epstein and Claire Haywood were awarded the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for The Pink House.

The festival wrapped on Sunday, June 18 with the Australian premiere of Bong Joon-ho’s Okja.