Rip Tide stars Debby Ryan and shot in Kiama, Shellharbour and other parts of the Illawarra

A feature film shot in the Illawarra and directed by Bulli filmmaker Rhiannon Bannenberg has exceeded expectations and will screen in cinemas around the country and overseas this month.

Rip Tide, a coming-of-age family drama starring Debby Ryan of Disney’s Jessie, made its world debut at the Sydney Film Festival in June to rave reviews.

It will have a red carpet VIP premier in Shellharbour this Sunday and its US debut later in the month at the Miama Fashion Film Festival (because of the strong fashion themes).

Rip Tide (2017) - Debby Ryan - Trailer

“When making the film we knew we were making something to be proud of,” the 27-year-old said.

“You spend a lot of time making it, you put a lot of effort in but the film’s not for me it’s for them the audience - so you can never be quite sure [how people will respond] but it had a good feeling the whole way through.”

Producer Steve Jaggi said the movie filled a gap in the market as most films were made for children or adults with not a lot in between.

According to industry website IMDb the budget for Rip Tide was estimated at AU$3.4 million.

“I’m floored, it’s going out on 80-plus screens in the initial run – that’s for the first two weeks ... then it will go out to regional [cinemas],” Jaggi said.

“It’s on par with like a Hollywood movie … that was never expected.

“As a producer when you make a film like this, if you make a good film you are usually lucky to get 20 maybe 30 quality screens, so to get a film that’s going out to close to 100 screens is just mind-blowing.”

Shot in Shellharbour, Kiama and Jamberoo last November, Rip Tide viewers will recognise Illawarra icons like The Farm and Pines Dairy.

Killalea State Park manager Nathan Cattell also makes his film debut with a small cameo.

Rip Tide stars Naomi Sequeira, Debby Ryan and Genevieve Hegney. Picture: Supplied

Rip Tide stars Naomi Sequeira, Debby Ryan and Genevieve Hegney. Picture: Supplied

According to industry website IMDb the budget for the film was estimated at $3.4 million.

The movie follows Cora (played by Ryan), an 18-year-old fashion model who runs away to Australia to live with her aunt Margot (Genevieve Hegney) after a humiliating fashion mishap goes viral.

Though initially unsure of the beach-side community she finds herself in, Cora soon discovers hidden talents, new friendships and even a potential romance with local surfer Tom (Andrew Creer).

Bannenberg said it was a “delight” making the film which she described as positive and uplifting.

Both Bannenberg and Jaggi had Hollywood starlet Debby Ryan who is now making her name as an adult actor after leaving Disney sets in 2015.

Ryan has another three films on the way: Life of the Party (with Melissa McCarthy), Grace and Cover Versions.

Meantime Bannenberg has already been enlisted for another two projects with Jaggi Productions – a feature aimed at young adults set on the Great Barrier Reef and a big budget period film.

Rip Tide is G rated and scheduled to open at cinemas from September 14.