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MADRID – Making good on reviewers’ enthusiasm and multiple fest prizes, Benedikt Erlingsson’s buzzed-up feature debut “Of Horses and Men” has closed major territory deals for the U.K., France and Spain.

Set in a magnificently lensed rural Iceland, “Of Horses” celebrates its U.S. premiere as one of 12 titles in the New Voices/New Visions section of the Palm Springs Festival, which kicks off today Friday.

Handling international sales on “Of Horses,” Guido Rud’s FilmSharks International has closed the U.K. with Axiom, France with Carlotta Films/Bodega Films and Spain with Cameo, the DVD/VOD distribution label co-owned by Wanda Films, Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo and Golem Distribucion.

“Of Horses” will receive a theatrical release in the U.K., France and Spain in March. FilmCoopi Zurich will open the quirky drama in Switzerland.

Described by Erlingsson as a country romance linking the human streak in horses and the horse-like streak in humans, “Of Horses and Men” was produced by Iceland’s Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, a reputed director in his own right (“Angels of the Universe,” “Devil’s Island”).

It won Spain’s San Sebastian Kutxa-New Directors Award in September, best director at Tokyo, best film, cinematography (Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson) and a Fipresci Prize at Estonia’s Tallinn Black Nights Festival and best actress (Charlotte Boving) at France’s Amiens Fest.

Iceland’s Oscar entry – though it didn’t make the final nine-title shortlist – “Of Horses” received rave reviews.

“Flabbergasting images and a delightfully dry sense of humor make “Of Horses and Men” a debut worthy of celebration,” wrote Jay Weissberg in Variety.

“Stage and shorts helmer Benedikt Erlingsson reveals an astonishingly inventive eye and a sensitivity to the confluence of spirit between man and animal that’s impossible to capture in words, balancing desire and jealousy with the cycles of life and repping a boldly distinctive vision set in a quirky horse-riding community in the stunning Icelandic countryside.”