Italy has selected Gianni Amelio's drama, The House Keys, as its candidate for theforeign-language category of the next Academy Awards.

The film, which focuses on the relationship between a fatherand the disabled 15-year-old son he meets for the first time, premiered incompetition at this year's Venice Film Festival. Kim Rossi Stuart, CharlotteRampling and Andrea Rossi co-star.

Lions Gate, Miramax and Paramount Classics are rumoured tocurrently be in talks to buy US distribution rights to the film.

The House Keys isAmelio's fourth film to be selected as Italy's Oscar candidate. Previouscandidates were 1994's L'America,1992's Stolen Children (for whichUniversal owns remake rights) and 1989's OpenDoors, which received an official Academy Award nomination.

The House Keys isproduced by Rai Cinema, Italy's Achab Film and Lakeshore, which is handlinginternational distribution rights.

The picture has already grossed Euros 2.7m in Italy threeweeks into its release, and has registered over 500,000 admissions.