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FIRST LOOK WILL DISTRIB ‘JERUSALEM’

First Look Pictures has acquired U.S. distribution rights from the Sales Co. to “Jerusalem,” Sweden’s official Oscar entry for best foreign-language film.

Based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner Selma Lagerlof, the film is written and directed by Bille August, whose credits include 1988 foreign-language Oscar-winner “Pelle the Conqueror.”

“Jerusalem” stars Maria Bonnevie, Ulf Friberg, Lena Endre, Pernilla August, Olympia Dukakis and Max Von Sydow. Ingrid Dahlberg is the producer.

The film is based on a century-old story of a charismatic preacher who travels to a small Swedish village, converts two young lovers and convinces them to part with their earthly possessions and move to the Holy Land.

“Jerusalem” was produced by SVT Drama in association with a number of Scandinavian co-financiers including Svensk Filmindustri and the Danish Broadcasting Corp.

It’s the third film from the Sales Co. to be handled domestically by First Look.

In July, First Look acquired the screen adaptation of Wallace Shawn’s play “The Designated Mourner,” starring Mike Nichols and Miranda Richardson,. Last year, First Look released the Dutch film “Antonia’s Line,” which received the Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

August recently helmed Fine Line Features’ upcoming “Smilla’s Sense of Snow,” starring Julia Ormond.

His Ingmar Bergman-scripted “Best Intentions” won the Palme D’Or at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. August also directed the 1993 film “The House of the Spirits.”

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