Australo-British sales company Arclight Films has picked up world sales rights to Beautiful Boxer, the Thai drama about a kickboxer who fought to earn money for a sex change that appears in Berlin's Panorama section. The deal is expected to be the beginning of a long-term relationship between Arclight and leading producer GMM Pictures.

"We are very happy that [Arclight managing director] Gary Hamilton was able to see the mainstream potential of my film," said Ekachai Uekrongtham, director of the film and head of creative and development at GMM. Arclight's faith appears to be justified by significant interest from Japanese distributors and the specialist divisions of two US studios.

The Panorama screening marked the film's international premiere. It was released in Thailand in November by the local division of 20th Century Fox.

Uekrongtham says that the Arclight relationship is expected to open the company's horizons. "With the backing of our parent company Grammy Records we don't really need to co-productions as a budget raising exercise, but we want to become more international.

GMM, which also has My Girl and Iron Pussy in other parts of the Berlin festival, has a busy 2004 slate.

This includes Uekrongtham's untitled musical, which has a $5m-plus budget; The Story Of Fak, a drama about a straight-laced man in love with a crazy woman; Miss Elephant, a family comedy about a young woman who enters a jumbo-queen beauty contest in order to spite her health guru father; action drama X-Games, which will feature two of Thailand's biggest rock stars; ghostly suspense drama The Shutter; and, an untitled buddy movie with Beautiful Boxer star Asanee Suwan.