Filmmaking giant Luc Besson has acquired French rights to award-winning documentary The Cove.

He has acquired the rights through his production/distribution powerhouse EuropaCorp. Besson is a renowned diver and is director of the iconic film, The Big Blue.

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, The Cove plays out both as activist cinema and as a thriller. It directed by Louie Psihoyos, co-founder of the Ocean Preservation Society, and Richard O’Barry, an internationally recognized authority on dolphin training, best known for his work on the Sixties TV show Flipper. The film follows a high-tech dive team on a mission to discover the truth about the international dolphin capture trade as practiced in Taiji, Japan.

The Cove recently won the Audience Award at this year’s Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market.

William Morris Independent’s Rena Ronson negotiated the sale on behalf of the filmmakers and Carl Clifton, Managing Director of The Works International, which is representing the international rights for the film.