In his feature debut Jeffrey Walker will direct Ali’s Wedding, a romantic comedy based on a true story for Matchbox Pictures.
Scripted by actor Osamah Sami and Andrew Knight, the plot follows Ali, the son of a Muslim cleric, who is caught between his sense of duty to his family and following his heart.
The film is inspired by Sami’s first marriage which lasted precisely one hour and 48 minutes.
Shooting is due to start in Melbourne in the first week of November, produced by Sheila Jayadev and Helen Panckhurst. No casting has been confirmed yet.
"Jeffrey is one of Australia’s most exciting directors and we are thrilled to be working with him on Ali’s Wedding," Jayadev tells IF. "With his extensive experience in directing comedy both in Australia and the US, he will create a fresh, contemporary and hugely entertaining film."
Osamah has just launched his memoir Good Muslim Boy, which recounts his experiences as a teenager surviving the Iran–Iraq war, peddling fireworks and chewing gum on the Iranian black market, his 'temporary marriages' and how he was flogged by the so-called Piety Police for trying to hold hands with girls in dark cinemas.
The investors are Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Film Victoria, the Adelaide Film Festival and White Hot Productions. Madman Entertainment is the Australian distributor and Germany’s Beta Film will handle international sales. Wayne Blair was originally set to direct.
Last year Walker helmed four episodes of Jimmy McGovern’s Banished, the 7-part series set during the establishment of the penal colony in Sydney in 1788, which premieres tonight on BBC First.
In New York earlier this year he directed the first four episodes of Difficult People, a comedy starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner ( Funny or Die, Billy on the Street) as best friends whose irreverent behaviour lands them in awkward situations, commissioned by streaming service Hulu.
His other US credits include Modern Family, Bones, Rake, Raising Hope and Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night.
He’s also attached to direct The Cartographer, a feature based on the Australian novel by Peter Twohig, which follows a nameless child who handles the terrors of his life by copying the attributes of fictional pop culture characters he admires, for South Pacific Pictures’ John Barnett.