France'sCelluloid Dreams has picked up international sales rights to The Aura (ElAura), the latest film by Fabian Bielinsky, the Argentinian director ofbreakout hit Nine Queens.

Nine Queens and Son Of The Bride star RicardoDarin plays a taxidermist whose fantasies about setting up the perfect crimecome unexpectedly to life. The film shot in Argentina's Patagonia region inOctober 2004 on a $2.8m budget.

The film waspreviously handled by leading Argentinian producer Patagonik Film Group, whichintroduced The Aura at Cannes last year. Patagonik struck deals with UGCFilms for the UK and with (Patagonik investor) Buena Vista International forLatin America. Co-producer Davis Films will release it in France throughMetropolitan Filmexport, while in Spain, where Tornasol Films is co-producer,it will be released through Alta Classic.

Bidding tohandle the film was hotly contested with a number of international sellerscompeting and the deal was sealed at the end of last week's Berlin festival.

Hengameh Panahi, president of Celluloid, said: "I have admired thework of Fabian Bielinsky for a long timeI adored Nine Qureens and I'm thrilledwe will be working together on The Aura. Our relationship with Patagonikhas been a pleasure. They are wonderful producers."

Patagonik chiefPablo Bossi said, "We are very proud that this new project of our talentedFabian Bielinsky has been boarded for its international distribution byCelluloid Dreams, one of the cleverest and most refined companies in thedistribution business."

Bielinsky told ScreenInternational that The Aura is "completely different from NineQueens - it is a darker, more personal story, both for certain elementswhich have to do with me and because it revolves entirely around one characterand his circumstances." The script was inspired by a story he wrote in hisearly twenties.

The "slightly threatening" natural setting of Patagonia is meant to"contrast with the lead character, who is an urban type from Buenos Aires,taken out of his natural context, which lends to the idea that he can carry outhis fantasies, being in such a different place and almost not himself,"Bielinsky said.

Nine Queens was sold to 32 countries and grossed acombined $15m internationally. It also picked up over 30 awards. It was remade by Steven Soderbergh's and George Clooney's SectionEight and released as Criminal through Warner Independent Pictures.