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First Aust Muslim rom-com hits the screen

AAP logoAAP 31/10/2016 Marnie Banger

Australia's first Muslim romantic comedy could prompt more people from minority groups to share their stories through film, its creator says.

Ali's Wedding is based on the true story of writer Osamah Sami, who also plays Ali, the Melbourne-based son of a Muslim cleric who tells a lie that sets off a cringe-worthy chain of events.

The wedding in question is Ali's arranged marriage, which he accidentally agrees to at a tea ceremony but which lasts less than two hours.

Osamah says it's hard to describe how it feels to see his life on the screen but he's eager to see how others respond.

"It's history making, the first Muslim rom-com, so it's going to hopefully pave the way for many other similar stories," he said.

"Not just from the Muslim community but from other communities and minorities in our society."

Lead actress Helena Sawires, who plays Ali's love interest Dianne, said her Egyptian heritage helped her connect with some of the film's gags immediately.

While not Muslim, she thinks the film will help break down incorrect ideas about the Islamic community.

"I think it's good for people to get insight into how it all is," she said.

"You know there's so much, for lack of a better word, demonising of this sort of world.

"This film is such a perfect example of showing, we're humans, we live life just like everyone else does."

Offspring and East West 101 star Don Hany plays Ali's father, who he said was part of a movement of Muslims finding their identity in Australia.

He said he found the film's script so funny and full of meaning he struggled not to fall in love with it from the outset.

"I literally couldn't put it down. It's something that I guess happens every now and then but it's more rare than not," he said.

The film has been co-written by Andrew Knight and is the first to be directed by Jeffrey Walker, who has directed TV shows like Modern Family and Jack Irish.

Funded by the Adelaide Film Festival, it debuted in Adelaide on Friday and will be in cinemas early in 2017.

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