After a nationwide search to find an actor to play Poppy in the upcoming feature film of the same name, Libby Hunsdale of Whanganui has been cast in the lead role.
The 18-year-old Whanganui Girls College student impressed writer and director Linda Niccol (Second-Hand Wedding), with her vivacious personality and ability to deliver a performance.
"Libby is a real find. She embodies the spirit of Poppy. She's a true performer," Niccol said.
Poppy is the story of a young woman with Down syndrome who assumes she should have the same life and opportunities as others her age and is forced to take matters into her own hands when her over-protective brother holds her back from achieving her ambition to become a motor mechanic.
Filming will take place in Kāpiti early next year.
Libby said she was over the moon to be cast and she identifies with the story and her part in it.
"What I love about Poppy is that she's ambitious and wants a career. I do too," she said.
"Poppy doesn't care about what people think of her and the fact she has Down syndrome. I really relate to Poppy. We could be sisters."
As the story of Poppy includes learning to drive and working in a garage, Libby will be preparing for her role over summer.
The preparation, as well as drama coaching will be supported by a grant from the IHC Foundation.
The New Zealand Film Commission is supporting Poppy with funding from the 125 Fund created to celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage.
New Zealand on Air has also offered funding alongside private supporters and sponsors and TVNZ will screen the film in New Zealand.