EXCLUSIVE: The Santa Monica-based sales, production and distribution company has swooped on international sales rights to the SXSW entry starring Michelle Monaghan, Radha Mitchell and Michael Weston. ICM Partners is in the process of negotiating a US deal.

Gus will receive its market premiere on May 16 and Lightning vice-presidents of international sales Mathilde Epstein and Alexandra Cocean will introduce to buyers on the Croisette with acquisitions and sales consultant Richard Guardian.

Jessie McCormack directed the feature debut from her own screenplay about a woman who cannot conceive who persuades her husband to adopt the as-yet-unborn baby of her free-spirited, pregnant best friend.

Relationships are tested to the limit when the friend moves in as well as the husband’s recovering addict brother.

McCormack produced alongside Kathryn Himoff, Kevin Fitzmaurice Comer and Erik Van Wyck. Richard N Gladstein served as executive producer.

Lightning Entertainment’s Joseph Dickstein brokered the deal with ICM Partners on behalf of the filmmakers. ICM Partners also represents Monaghan and Mitchell.

Gus is a touching story which showcases the power of female friendships featuring strong performances grounded in reality from its two leads, Michelle and Radha,” said Lightning president Robert Beaumont. “We look forward to presenting this title to our buyers.”

Lightning’s Cannes sales slate includes Dead Drop starring Luke Goss, Cole Hauser and Nestor Carbonell; South African crime-thriller Blacksouth Easter; documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs; Five Thirteen starring Danny Trejo and Tom Sizemore; Scorned starring AnnaLynne McCord and Billy Zane; Healing directed by Craig Monahan and starring Hugo Weaving; action thriller Freezer starring Dylan McDermott and Peter Facinelli; and Australian adventure thriller The Jungle directed by Andrew Traucki.