Montreal-based distributor Atopia has picked up North American distribution rights for Heidi Specogna's 2006 Sundance world documentary competitor The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez, the story of the first US soldier killed in the invasion of Iraq.

The Germany-Switzerland coproduction follows in the footsteps of one-time Guatemalan street urchin Gutierrez who became a so-called Green Card soldier: an immigrant who enlists in the military in return for US citizenship. The film has screened at Locarno, Munich, San Francisco, Havana and Amsterdam

Atopia said it will releast the film theatrically in the US and Canada in March 2007, timed against the fourth annivesary of Gutierrez's death and the inception of the ongoing conflict. DVD relese is set for the summer. Caroline Distribution will handle the US DVD release while MorningStar Entertainment will handle the Canadian DVD release.