Patricia Rozema has commenced principal photography on Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery for HBO Films and Picturehouse.

The long-awaited return to features for Toronto-based Rozema features Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin in the title role. The screenplay is by Ann Peacock, who wrote The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.

American Girl, a subsidiary of US toy manufacturer Mattel, is a multi-faceted brand encompassing books, dolls, clothes and accessories targeted at young girls. The focus of the franchise is a series of fictional young female personalites from different eras of US history - Kitt Kittredge is a plucky Depression-era 10-year-old living in Cincinnati - hence American Girls.

Three previous American Girl outings have been produced for television and home video: WWII-era Molly (2006) Revolutionary War-era Felicity (2005) and turn-of-the-20th-century era Samantha (2004).

Supporting cast members in the new film include Stanley Tucci, Julia Ormond, Joan Cusack, Glenne Headly, Jane Krakowski and Wallace Shawn as well as younger actors such as Zach Mills, from the upcoming Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

The film is produced by HBO Films, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and American Girl president Ellen L. Brothers, in association with Julia Robert's Red Om Films. Roberts, executive producer on Felicity and Samantha, reprises. Terrry Gould and Marisa Yeres are co-producers.

The film will shoot in and around Toronto for five weeks and is scheduled for release on July 2, 2008. Picturehouse will release the film in the US. Alliance Atlantis's Motion Picture Distribution will release the film in Canada.