IFC Films has acquired all North American rights to TouchingThe Void, Oscar-winningdirector Kevin MacDonald's true-life mountaineering drama that will screen atthe Telluride and Toronto festivals.

Based on the memoir of the same name by the renowned mountaineerJoe Simpson, the film recounts a 1985 attempt by Simpson and Simon Yates toscale the treacherous west face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes thatnearly resulted in their deaths.

The deal was negotiated by Sarah Lash, IFC's director ofacquisitions, and IFC president Jonathan Sehring on behalf of IFC Films withAlison Thompson, head of Pathe International UK. The film will be released in 2004on a date to be announced.

"Joe Simpson's memoir is one of the most compelling stories ofadventure, survival and friendship ever written," Sehring said in a statement.

"Kevin's ability to translate this to film is nothing short ofremarkable. Having already collaborated on three of Kevin's previous films, Performance, A Brief History Of Errol Morris and Howard Hawks, we are thrilled to be able to presentthis amazing work. Kevin is truly one of the most exciting young filmmakersworking today."

"I am delighted to have IFC on board and I am looking forward to asuccessful collaboration with Jonathan and his team," Thompson added. "KevinMacDonald is a marvellously talented film-maker and we are privileged to workon such a splendid project."

MacDonald won the best documentary Academy Award in 2000 for OneDay In September, thestory of the 1972 Munich Olympics Israeli hostage crisis.