Former Canberra film-maker Jack Webb has returned home to the ''place where my imagination started'' to shoot his first feature-length film.
His parents' historic property, Fairlight, at Uriarra, will be showcased extensively in the film A Hand of Art, but so, too, will the Canberra cafe scene, the 39 Steps Cafe Bar, at O'Connor, being a location that will be used in the movie.
Mr Webb, 34, a former Canberra Grammar School student, said Lake Burley Griffin and the Tharwa general store also would be shot for the film, which he hoped to show on the festival circuit.
The movie is about a young artist and the sacrifices he makes to pursue his dreams, a theme Mr Webb says is close to his heart. It will try to push the boundaries by also showing scenes inside the artist's head.
Mr Webb has been in Brisbane for the past seven years and has made nine short films.
He wanted his first feature to be ''a big film with big landscape shots'' and did not have to look beyond his own boyhood home, the 3500 hectare sheep property run by his parents, Peter and June, that has been in his family for generations. The homestead is 150 years old.
''It's very special to come back to a place that is so familiar to me, to a place where my imagination started,'' he said.
Mr Webb said he remembered as a child ''fighting aliens in the woolshed'' and waging battles among the trees on the property, where his imagination could run free.
The film shoot in and around Canberra will take about three weeks. Some of the film will also be shot in Brisbane. Cast and crew are bunking down in accommodation on the farm.
Actors cast so far for the production are Brad Murnane (who has appeared on Sea Patrol), Mercedes Porter and Ebony Nave.
Michael Whithear, the owner of the 39 Steps Cafe, was delighted to be part of the movie, not least because the cafe's name had a cinematic reference to the Alfred Hitchcock classic of that name.
''I'm excited,'' he said, adding that he was looking forward to writing on the cafe blackboard that it was ''closed for a movie shoot''.