Bali High Wedding Premieres This Weekend
For most mothers, organising a lavish wedding is stressful enough, but what if you are also an Australian-born Balinese royal princess expected to supervise complex Hindu traditions stretching back centuries?
For Princess Asri, there’s no escaping the tensions and hostilities that have been directed to her ever since she became the first non Balinese royal bride in a similar ceremony in Bali thirty-two years ago. Now Asri’s son, Max, is marrying a famous Indonesian actress, Happy Salma. And Happy’s Muslim family is none too happy about her marrying a Hindu, prince or not.
Princess Jero Asri Kerthyasa (formerly Jane Gillespie of Sydney) is at the centre of Royal Wedding preparations for her son, Prince Tjok Gus. The bride-to-be is an adored Indonesian ‘soapie’ star and the traditional wedding rituals at The Royal Palace of Ubud are a whole new world for her. Supervising proceedings is Asri’s husband, Prince Tjokorda Raka. The youngest son of his father’s tenth wife, he was expected to marry within the Balinese royals but in 1978 married Jane Gillespie, an Australian commoner.
This one off half-hour documentary comes from the same team that created and produced the successful religious documentary series The Mission televised on Compass in 2009.
The original inception for this project came about when director, Ms Varcha Sidwell whilst holidaying in Bali, was introduced to a fellow Australian, Ms Jane Gillespie who had married a Balinese Prince 32 years before. Now known as Princess Asri, Ms Sidwell became fascinated with how an average Australian girl like Ms Gillespie has managed the cultural complexities of now living a life as a prominent member of a Hindu Royal Family.
Quickly striking up a trusting relationship, Ms Sidwell became privy to the highs and lows of the Princess life and her juggling of the ancient traditions with modern living and realised this could be a compelling documentary. However once Ms Sidwell discovered Princess Asri’s son was soon to mirror his mother’s journey across the religious and cultural divide by marrying a famous Indonesian actress, who is a muslim, she was now certain there was a great story to tell.
Screen Tasmania has been proud to invest in this wonderful project and congratulates everyone at Roar Film and all those invloved in the film's development and production.
Bali High Wedding premieres at 10pm, Sunday 24 July on ABC1.
More information at the Showcase page.
Download the pdf press kit here.