Munich’s Bavaria Film International has licensed North American rights on Oliver Schmitz’s coming-of-age drama Life, Above All to Sony Pictures Classics (SPC).

The film earned a rousing reception when it premiered in official selection at Cannes and won the Francois Chalais Prize, awarded to films dedicated to the values of life affirmation and journalism.

Bavaria previously closed deals with ARP in France and Nachshon in Israel. Senator is handling German-speaking Europe.

Life, Above All is based on Allan Stratton’s 2005 award-winning novel Chanda’s Secrets about a young girl in an AIDS-ravaged community in South Africa who fights to rescue the people she loves. Newcomer Khomotso Manyaka (pictured) stars.

The film is a Dreamer Joint Venture production in co-production with Senator Film Produktion, Enigma Pictures and Niama-Film. Oliver Stoltz produced.

Bavaria and SPC previously worked together on Run Lola Run, Good Bye, Lenin!, The Man Without A Past,and I Served The King Of England.

“For a film of this kind you can’t ask for a better US-distributor than Sony Pictures Classics,” Bavaria Film International head Thorsten Ritter said. “I had every confidence that they would see the tremendous potential in the film. And I was rarely, if ever, moved in the same way as in this Cannes premiere.

“I am very pleased to be working with SPC again and would like to thank both them and my colleague Stefanie Zeitler for negotiating the deal so thoughtfully.”

“Anyone privileged to witness the ovations following the screenings in Cannes knows this film is a winner across the board, an exceptionally well made and profoundly moving experience,” SPC said in a statement. “We are pleased to be working with Oliver Schmitz, a director we have been following with great interest for some time, and our friends at Bavaria.”