Fine Line Features has bought North American rights and Overseas FilmGroup has taken international rights to Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls, which screened to great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival this weekend. The company, which competed with Sony Pictures Classics for the film, paid just north of $1m for the acquisition.

Fine Line plans to release the film - Schnabel's second after 1995's Basquiat - in December in time for Oscar consideration, adding to a lineup which already includes Lars Von Trier's Dancer In The Dark and David Mamet's State And Main.

The film, produced by Jon Kilik's Grandview Pictures, is a biopic of the Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas who was imprisoned for his homosexuality. Javier Bardem stars as Arenas in the film with a supporting cast including Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Olivier Martinez and Hector Babenco.

Before Night Falls will also screen at Toronto this week and at the New York Film Festival later in the month.

Overseas signed a first look deal with Kilik and Grandview in May this year. Earlier in the year, the company had received a $17m investment from Rosemary Street, which now owns a majority stake in the publicly traded company.