In one of asmattering of deals signed at the Venice Film Festival, veteran arthousedistributor Bim has acquired Italian rights to Stephen Frears' next film, TheQueen, about thedeath of Princess Diana.

StarringHelen Mirren as the Queen, the picture delves into the relationship betweenTony Blair and the British Royal Family from the time they learned about thedeath of Diana until her funeral. Michael Sheen will play the role of TonyBlair.

The picture, which has a budget of £8-9m (Euros 11.8m - 13.3m),is co-financed by Pathe Pictures and Granada Screen. Pathe International ishandling world sales on the film, which starts shooting at the end ofSeptember.

In a separate Venice deal,Bim chief Valerio De Paolis has also acquired Italian distribution rights toSydney Pollack's Toronto documentary, Sketches of Frank Gehry, about the American architect whose designs includeBilbao's Guggenheim Museum. Cinetic Media is handling world sales

DePaolis has also boarded Ken Loach's next film, Irish Civil War drama, TheWind That Shakes The Barley, sold by Pathe International.

"Iwant to continue being involved as much as possible in European co-productionsand also to buy some US independent movies," De Paolis told

TheRome-based company's upcoming distribution slate includes Stephen Frears'Toronto title Mrs. Henderson Presents; Todd Haynes' I'm Not There; Cedric Klapisch'sRussian Dolls; Cannes winner The Child and The Beat That My Heart Skipped.

Bimalso has local rights to Venice titles Brokeback Mountain, Isabel Coixet's TheSecret Life of Words, Fernando Mereilles's The Constant Gardener and documentary ElioPetri: Appunti su un Autore, about the Oscar-nominated Italian director.