A literary adaptation looks certain to kick off Sydney-based sales agent Arclight Films' career as a producer of Australian films but which one is the question.

Arclight has announced it has started selling distribution rights to the schoolgirl teen comedy Hating Alison Ashley, from the children's classic of the same name, and is also known to have tipped development money into an adaptation of the novel The Drowner.

LA-based expatriate director Rod Hardy is attached to Hating Alison Ashley, which will be produced by Arclight managing director Gary Hamilton alongside Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman.

Christine Madafferi, who has worked mainly on television series and Australian Children's Television Foundation projects, has adapted the novel by Robin Klein.

Australia's Robert Drewe wrote the novel Our Sunshine, on which the soon-to-be-released Ned Kelly is based, and has also written The Drowner. Highly regarded commercials director Jeff Darling is working with scriptwriter Justin Monjo but the film is still in very early development.

Arclight was set up in mid-2002 by Hamilton and Victor Syrmis, and British producer Spice Factory later became a minority owner.

As Screen International reported back in October, while Arclight's major focus is international sales, it is also keen to become involved in domestic Australian distribution, and financing and co-producing a couple of films per year in Australia.

"I believe Hating Alison Ashley will be one of those rare Australian films that will work in both the domestic and international marketplace," said Hamilton, former Beyond Films general manager.