Australian feel-good film Around the Block, starring Christina Ricci, has begun filming this week in Sydney.

Ricci plays unconventional American drama teacher Dino Chalmers, who develops a friendship with 16-year-old Australian-Aboriginal boy Liam (played by Hunter Page-Lochard), who is torn between his unexpected love of theatre and the disintegration of his family. Ricci arrives in Australia on Saturday and will be in the country for the entire four-week shoot which is taking place in the ‘Block’ in Redfern, according to producer Brian Rosen.

“It’s a very uplifting film and it’s very hopeful at the end – it’s symbolic of the Block,” he said. “The Block is rekindling itself now and rising from the ashes and that’s what this story is about – it’s about a kid who rises from the ashes to make something of himself.”

The film also stars Jack Thompson (who is also executive producing), Matthew Nable, Damien Walshe-Howling, Daniel Henshall and Ruby Rose.

Around the Block marks the feature film debut for writer-director Sarah Spillane who has written and directed various programs for Channel Seven, ABC, SBS, Foxtel, BBC, ITV and Channel Four, as well as award-winning films such as The Manual and Australian Tails.

The film will be distributed in Australia by Arclight Films, which recently bolstered its fledgling local distribution operation with the appointment of Michael Wrenn. Arclight will also act as international sales agent.

Contact this reporter at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bcswift.

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