Houston-based ADV Films, a producer-distributor of Japaneseanimation in North America, has acquired North American rights to LeeSeong-Kang's award-winning Korean digital animated feature, My BeautifulGirl, Mari.

The film won best feature at the 2002 Annecy InternationalAnimated Film festival and is a magic-realist tale of a boy who takes refugefrom his family's troubles through an imaginary friend.

"We've been paying very close attention to Korean animation forsome time," ADV founder and president John Ledford said in a statement.

"The industry is not yet as well established as the Japaneseanimation industry, but the quality of the work is very impressive."

ADV's credits include Robotech, Samurai Moon, Hello Kitty'sParadise and RahXephon.

The company is owned byAD Vision, which operates the Anime Network and publishes the monthly animemagazine Newtype USA.

A limited theatrical release is planned for 2004, followed by anAnime Network broadcast and home video release.