Around the Block looks like being a catalyst for the careers of first-time writer/director Sarah Spillane and co-star Hunter Page-Lochard.
Spillane and Page-Lochard, 20, have signed with Paradigm, one of Hollywood’s leading entertainment talent agencies.
Their deals with Paradigm followed Around the Block’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it played to appreciative audiences.
Both are represented in Australia by RGM Artists, which introduced Spillane and Page-Lochard to Paradigm.
Paradigm's clients include Aussie Leigh Whannell, who wrote the first two Saw films, Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2, and actors Domhnall Gleeson, who stars in Angelina Jolie's upcoming drama Unbroken, Adrien Brody, Mark Harmon, Mimi Rogers, Kathy Baker, Roseanne Barr, Luca Calvani and Jared Harris.
Produced by Brian Rosen and Su Armstrong, Around the Block stars Christina Ricci as Dino, an American teacher who is eager to impart her love of Shakespeare to students at a tough inner-city school. Page-Lochard plays Liam, an Aboriginal student who tries desperately to stay on course despite the fact his father (Matt Nable) and brother (Mark Coles Smith) are criminals. Dino and Liam struggle with issues of identity, race, sexuality, and society and cultural pressures.
The film will open in Australia in March. The son of Bangarra Dance Theatre artistic director Stephen Page, Page-Lochard is set to appear with Cramer Cain, Lisa Flanagan and Rarriwuy Hick in Brothers Wreck, a play by Jada Alberts which will be staged at the Belvoir next May, directed by Leah Purcell.
Spillane won an Australian Directors Guild Award for her screenplay of Around The Block and has received festival awards for her short films The Manual, Australian Tails and This Life.