In recent months, the University of Melbourne has been the set of an Australian film called Ali’s Wedding, a romantic comedy that documents the life of migrant Osamah Sami. In a true life story, Osamah becomes caught in a web of lies as he fabricates his status as a medical student of the university in a bid to uphold the expectations of those around him.
The University of Melbourne is no stranger to the big screen. Films such as Knowing starring Nicolas Cage to other films like The Moon and the Sun and Other Catastrophes, highlight the campus’s versatility as a film set. The underground South Lawn car park is notorious for its use as a police garage in Mad Max.
Ali’s Wedding producer Sheila Jayadey says that the university was a “special place to film…for the array of visuals” including “the grandeur of its sandstone arches, to the stunning designs of its newer buildings”.
The subtleties of the campus are not lost to the students, who reflect on it themselves. Some are discriminating, or aesthetically tuned, valuing the culture of their surroundings. This applies to students past and present, with Tony Ayres, executive producer of Ali’s Wedding, being a Victorian College of the Arts alumnus.
Bachelor of Arts student Olympia Nelson notes the suitable quality of the campus.
“If you want to evoke ancestral privilege and professors with tweed jackets, then this is the scenic backdrop for you. Courtyards such as the Old Quad have the intimacy and sonic magic that you will not find in modern architecture anywhere,” she said.
“Tranquil, serene and otherworldly, the nineteenth century architects of the University of Melbourne knew the art of genuinely intimate space.”
And with award winning modern architecture too, like the Melbourne School of Design, which has been recognised for its architectural and environmental excellence, the university certainly makes an ideal filming location.
The university’s Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Lara McKay says, “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.”
With the city of Melbourne holding such high regard internationally continue serving as the location for many future films.