Columbia TriStar FilmDistributors International has taken up its first-look option to distributeMexican box office hit The Crime Of Father Amaro (El Crimen Del Padre Amaro) worldwide outside North America and Spain.

Sal Ladestro, Columbiasenior vice president of marketing and distribution, acquisitions and localproductions, confirmed the move Friday at the San Sebastian International FilmFestival (Sept 19-28), where Crimeis screening in competition.

Samuel Goldwyn Films hasrights in North America while Madrid-based co-producer Wanda Vision controlsSpain. After the Spanish premiere the film is expected to open in Latin Americabefore year-end.

Directed by Carlos Carrera, Crime stars Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien) as a priest who falls in love with and impregnatesa young woman, played by Ana Claudia Talancon. It is the top grossing domestichit ever in its native Mexico, where Columbia released it in August on anunprecedented 356 prints, presumably benefiting from widely publicized protestsby Catholic groups and religious authorities.

The film is a co-productionof Mexico's Alameda Films in association with Wanda Vision (Spain), ArtCam (France), Cinecolor (Argentina), Blu Films (Mexico), and the Mexican FilmInstitute (IMCINE).