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TORONTO — Fine Line Features has acquired U.S. rights to Canuck writer-director Jeremy Podeswa’s “The Five Senses,” a comic ensemble pic that opened the Perspective Canada program at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. Fine Line bought the film from Alliance Atlantis Pictures, which has world rights to the pic, in a deal sources said was in the low six figures.

“The Five Senses” had its world preem in the Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in May and it has since been sold in 21 territories, including to Key Film in Italy, ID Distribution in France and Aurum in Spain.

Ensemble piece

It is a comic drama built around the five senses of touch, taste, hearing, smell and vision, with a series of characters in an apartment building whose lives are shaken up when a young child goes missing. The film stars Mary-Louise Parker, Molly Parker (“Wonderland”), Philippe Volter (“The Double Life of Veronique”), Marco Leonardi (“Like Water for Chocolate”), Pascale Bussieres (“August 32nd on Earth”), Daniel MacIvor (“Beefcake”), and Gabrielle Rose (“The Sweet Hereafter”). It was produced by Podeswa and Camelia Frieberg (“The Sweet Hereafter”). It is Podeswa’s second feature, following “Eclipse,” which traveled the fest circuit in 1994.

“First of all, we love the film, which is the most important thing,” said Fine Line Features president Mark Ordesky. “The groundswell of critical support that bloomed around the film since its screening here is great. Also the fact that it’s Alliance is a plus, since Alliance is the company that did ‘The Sweet Hereafter,’ which we distributed, and they’re our partners (for distribution) in Canada.”

Sprung in spring

Fine Line expects to launch the pic Stateside next year, likely in the spring. Odeon Films, an Alliance subsidiary, had originally planned to release “The Five Senses” in Canada this fall, but now they may wait to go day-and-date with Fine Line.

The deal was negotiated by Ordesky for Fine Line and, on behalf of Alliance Atlantis, by Podeswa’s agent Cassian Elwes from the William Morris Agency and Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Group chair Victor Loewy.