Sage Klein is featuring alongside Hollywood superstar Tim Roth in the soon-to-be-released feature film Punch.
Klein, 18, described the experience as life-changing. "It was amazing."
The former St Andrews College student said film and television opportunities were few and far between in Christchurch making landing even a small role in the film, promising.
Klein said while Punch was a big career opportunity, she also felt a strong connection to its story. The coming-of-age story about a teenage boxer coming to terms with his sexuality and trying to live up to his alcoholic father's high expectations.
Roth will play Stan, the father and boxing coach to Jim, a 17-year-old in a small town. As Jim prepares for his first professional fight, he rethinks his life's path and his sexuality.
Klein will play the role of Amber, a teen bully, with insecurities about her own self worth.
As a member of the LGBT+ community, Klein said the film resonated with her on a personal level. When discovering it was based on Punch director and writer, Welby Ing's upbringing in a small New Zealand town, this reinforced her love for the story.
The actress said she was waitlisted to study acting at New York University (NYU) following in the famous footsteps of Alec Baldwin and Angelina Jolie.
Klein planned to eventually return to New Zealand with industry experience and open a performance school.
Ings said Klein was a natural talent.
"There's something raw and physical about her presence and that physicality was what the camera reacted to."