Fortissimo Films has pickedup worldwide rights outside North America to documentary The Bridge, which marks the directing debut of former studioproduction executive Eric Steel.

Filmed at the Golden GateBridge in San Francisco, the documentary examines the stories of the people whochose to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge in 2004. Inspired by a NewYorker article entitled "The Fatal Grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge", Steelfilmed on the bridge for the whole year.

While aiming to examine thehuman psyche, the film also touches on issues including mental health care inthe US and suicide prevention measures. According to the filmmakers, it looksset to re-open debate over the need for suicide barriers on the Golden Gatebridge.

Micah Green negotiated thedeal while still at Cinetic (he now works for CAA), with Fortissimo co-chiefsMichael J Werner and Wouter Barendrecht.

"When we first saw somefootage and talked to Eric we understood what a compelling and fascinating filmhe was working on and that he was focusing on an issue that remains one of thelast taboos of most societies," Werner and Barendrecht said.

Steel began his career as acreative executive at Walt Disney Pictures and was the senior vice president ofScott Rudin Productions for several years. His credits include Angela'sAshes, which he executive produced,and he was also co-producer on Shaft and Bringing Out The Dead.

More recently Steel set uphis own production company, Easy There Tiger, which is currently developingseveral documentaries and features, including the upcoming Julie & Julia, based on the best-selling novel of the same titleby Julie Powell.

The crew behind TheBridge also includes Emmyaward-winning DoP Peter McCandles and editor Sabine Krayenbuhl, along withcomposer Alex Heffes, whose credits include Oscar-winning documentary OneDay In September.