Los Angeles-based Lightning Entertainment has picked up international rights to Giddi Dar's award-winning Israeli feature Ushpizin.

Set in the cloistered worldof ultra-Orthodox Jews, Ushpizin is about a married couple in financial direstraits whose prayers for salvation are answered by the arrival of twomysterious strangers.

Shuli Rand, Michal Bat-ShevaRand, Shaul Mizrahi, and Ilan Ganani star in the picture, which screened atTribeca last month. It was the biggest Israeli release of 2004, grossing $2m atthe local box office. Dar produced with the late Rafi Bukai.

Lightning co-president RichardS Guardian and Marc Greenberg negotiated thedeal with Dar and Andrew Hurwitz of Epstein, Levinsohn, Bodine, Hurwitz & Weinstein onbehalf of the producers.

New Line and HBO's specialty US distributor Picturehouse holds North American rights and plans to release the drama in the US in October.