US distributor Koch Lorber Films has picked up all US rights to the 2005 Golden Bear winner U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha.

Mark Dornford-May's inventive adaptation transplants Georges Bizet's French opera Carmen, about a femme fatale who leaves a string of devastated men in her wake, to modern-day South Africa.

Lorber has set a March 28 platform release in New York's Film Forum, where the film will initially run for two weeks before expanding. The ultimate plan is to screen U-Carmen in at least 30 US cities.

'We've been pursuing the acquisition of this film for two years since Berlin,' Lorber said. 'It was a surprise win that came from left-field, and after much persistence we were able to work out a deal.

'It's a unique alignment of familiar music with the exoticism of a South African township, a world we've all heard about but rarely get to see. It has a lot of heart and is a fabulous film.

'We hope it will continue to earn the critical acclaim and audience plaudits that marked its Berlinale screening.'

Lorber sealed the deal with Fortissimo's Michael Werner.