In the first major deal since the companies launched their distribution partnership last month they have picked up North American rights to Michel Gondry’s latest film.

The We And The I received its North American premiere here after opening Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. 108 CEO Abhi Rastogi and Paladin president Mark Urman have earmarked an early March 2013 platform launch in New York and Toronto prior to expansion.

Gondry’s film stars mostly first-time teenagers as a gaggle of Bronx high school students taking a bus home at the end of term.

Urman and Rastogi negotiated the deal with WME Global on behalf of Gondry and producers Georges Bermann, Juie Fong and Raffi Adlan. Kinology holds international rights.

“We are honoured and thrilled to be working with Michel Gondry and his team on this totally one-of-a-kind film,” Urman said. “Rarely have I seen the energy, anarchy, and enthusiasm of teenagers rendered with so much authenticity and accuracy and with so little moralising or condescension.”

“This is exactly the kind of film we are looking to distribute – one that combines excellence with entertainment value, and a fresh, distinctive point of view,” Rastogi said.

The 108 Media-Paladin slate features six titles including the documentary Buffalo Girls, which is set to receive an Academy qualifying run in Los Angeles and New York in December.