Israeli film Yana's Friends, directed by Arik Kaplun, is fast becoming one of Israel's best performing movies as well as its most decorated.

The bitter-sweet comedy, about Russian immigrants trying to find their bearings in Israel during the Gulf War, has racked up about 100,000 admissions since its release in October 1999 - the best performance for a local picture in the last 12 months.

Yana's Friends, which was co-produced and is being distributed by Israel's Transfax, picked up both the best film and best actress prizes at last year's Karlovy Vary Film Festival. The film also scooped the Wolgin award for best film in Jerusalem and won nearly every available honour from the Israeli Film Academy in 1999.

Commercially, the film has also performed well in the Czech Republic where it attracted 4,000 admission on its first week of release in January for local distributor Cinema Art.

Theatrical releases are also planned for Russia, where NTV Profit is preparing an April opening, and the Slovak Republic, where the title is handled by the Slovak Film Institute.

Meanwhile Transfax has also sold Benelux theatrical rights to the film to Pauline Pictures while Dutch station NPS has taken the film for TV. Additional TV deals have been finalised for Finland (YLE) and Hong Kong (Hong Kong Cable TV).