Clare Kilner, who directed How To Deal and The Wedding Date, has been tapped to helm 7 Star Pictures’ Gideon’s Gift, a film based on the bestselling inspirational novel by Karen Kingsbury. The movie, which centers on a young girl (Emily Alyn Lind) struggling with illness who reaches out to a homeless man and inspires a Christmas miracle, is set to begin production May 11 in Salt Lake City. 7 Star founder John McAdams and Chester Semel will produce, and Kate Maberly will co-produce.

Gideon’s Gift is the latest project from Los Angeles-based 7 Star Pictures, which aims to produce and distribute a slate of self-financed low- and mid-budget features. The outfit also is fast-tracking The Goats, based on the young-adult novel by Brock Cole, to be written and directed by DJ Caruso (I Am Number Four) and produced by Ken Aguado and McAdams. In addition, 7 Star is prepping The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a young-adult romantic thriller based on the bestselling novel by Carrie Ryan, adapted by writer-director W. Peter Iliff (writer of Patriot Games and Point Break); The New Girl, written and to be directed by Alan Shapiro (The Crush); and After The Fall, written by Chris Ver Weil (Who is Cletus Tout?).

7 Star is backed by a private-equity film fund headed by Semel, a physician for the USC football team and a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.