The surprise winof four key Oscar nominations by Brazil's gangland epic City Of God has prompted both Miramax in NorthAmerica and Lumiere in Brazil to expand the theatrical release of the film intheir respective territories.

Miramax has the film currently playing on four screens inNew York, Los Angeles and San Francisco where the studio plans to add two orthree more screens per city. To date, the film has grossed $4.8m in thedomestic market.

In Brazil, distributorLumiere plans to re-release City Of God on some 25 to 30 prints in key cities, particularly Rio deJaneiro and Sao Paolo, according to co-head Marc Beauchamp. City Of God has grossed $7.7m in Brazil. "Ithas already come out on home video and DVD where sell-through business in bothformats has reached 22,609 units and rental business in both formats is atnearly 50,000 units," he said.

DirectorFernando Meirelles is currently in London in pre-production on his nextfeature, an adaptation of John Le Carre's thriller The Constant Gardener for Focus Features.

"My first reaction was toask if the Academy had gone nuts," he said yesterday. "APortuguese-spoken film nominated for Best Screenplay [adaptation]' A film thathad all the post-production done in Brazil, nominated for best cinematography and best editing' Whatis going on'," he exclaimed.

"The bestdirector nomination I obviously share with all my friends and co-workers,including Katia Lund, Tule Peak, the art director, Ed Cortes and Antonio Pinto'smusic, all those splendid actors, and [co producer] Andrea Barata Ribeiro, BelBerlinck and all the people at [production company] O2 Filmes that supportedme. Well, even if we don't win anything, I've got my speech ready. This filmreally required team work!"

Set in the infamous hilltop slums (called favelas) of Riode Janeiro, City Of God has multiplecharacters and three interweaving stories, not unlike the book of the sametitle by Paolo Lins. It is editor's Daniel Rezende's first feature film. Thekey character tries to find a way out of the drug-ravaged slums by becoming aphotographer and ends up chronicling the gang wars within the favela calledCity of God. Meirelles and co director Katia Lund shot in the favela of thesame name after receiving permission from the incarcerated drug lord who rulesover the favela.

City Of God has been acclaimed worldwide since itssensational launch at Cannes 2002. It has also scored impressive box officegrosses in many territories, including over $4m in the UK.

Although itpicked up European Film Academy, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations and wins, it failed to graba nomination in the foreign language category for the Oscars last year. LikeMexico's Y Tu Mama Tambien and Spain's Talk To Her which were not even submitted by their respective countriesto the foreign language film Oscar race, City Of God has gone on to earn nominations in othercategories.