Blessed, the new film by Australian director Ana Kokkinos (Head On), has secured a trio of fine Australian actresses in Frances O'Connor (Artificial Intelligence: AI, Mansfield Park), Miranda Otto (Lord Of The Rings) and Deborra-Lee Furness (Jindabyne), as well as Russian-born Victoria Haralabidou (Brides).

The multi-narrative drama is about mothers and children but its first half focuses on the misadventures of the young characters as they wander the city streets through a day and a night. The newcomers playing the children are Anastasia Babouassouras, Sophie Lowe, Eamon Farren, Eva Lazzaro, Reef Ireland and Harrison Gilbertson.

Cameras roll from Oct6 to Nov21 in Melbourne on this third collaboration between Kokkinos and Andrew Bovell (Lantana) after Head On and The Book Of Revelation. Blessed's producer, Al Clark (The Adventures Of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert), also produced Revelation.

Bovell adapted the script with Melissa Reeves, Patricia Cornelius and Christos Tsiolkas, from the stage play Who's Afraid of the Working Class' commissioned by the Melbourne Workers Theatre eight years ago. Kokkinos has previously told that she was impressed by how the project depicts ordinary people's lives with dignity and humanity.

Geoff Burton is behind the camera and Jill Bilcock is editing. The executive producers are Marian Macgowan, Kokkinos, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross.

The Wildheart Zizani production was promised investment in April by Film Finance Corporation Australia, which has now been swallowed up by the new agency Screen Australia. Other investors include the Melbourne International Film Festival's Premiere Fund, Film Victoria, Head Gear Films and Icon, which will release the film locally.

Bankside Films is the international sales company.