Focus Featureshas acquired US distribution rights to the thriller Swimming Pool, the latest picture by 8 Women director Francois Ozon, from sales agentCelluloid Dreams. Announcing the move today (Dec 17), Focus co-presidents DavidLinde and James Schamus said Swimming Pool will be released in 2003.

Swimming Pool is the first English-language picture byOzon and stars Charlotte Rampling, who starred for the director in Under TheSand, and LudivineSagnier, whose credits include 8 Women and Water Drops on Burning Rocks. The screenplay was written incollaboration with the French novelist Emmanuele Bernheim, with whom Ozonworked on Under the Sand. The film is being produced by longtime Ozon collaborators MarcMissonier and Olivier Delbosc of Fidelite Productions.

The storycentres on the strange effect of a meeting between a British crime writer,played by Rampling, and her publisher's French daughter, played bySagnier. Charles Dance co-stars as the publisher.

Focus Features and Fidelite Productions worked together on8 Women, which has gone on to gross morethan $3m domestically and is France's official submission for the 2003foreign language Oscar. Its eight females co-stars recently shared the bestactress award at the European Film Academy Awards, adding to their ensemblecast Silver Bear Award in Berlin.