Lions Gate International has acquired worldwide rights excluding France and Canada to Jean Beaudin's epic historical romance New France, starring Gerard Depardieu, Tim Roth and Colm Meaney.

The in-production Canadian-French-UK joint venture is being shot in English and French-language versions on locations in Canada, France and the UK.

The company's co-presidents Nick Meyer and Sergei Yershov announced the deal at MIFED yesterday.

New France is a co-production between Richard Goudreau's Montreal-based Melenny Productions, Samuel Hadida's Paris-based Davis Films and Robert Sidaway's UKFS in the UK.

The story takes place in 1759 and centres on a passionate affair between a feisty peasant woman and an adventurer, set against the backdrop of the English and French struggle for control of the Americas.

Crystal Films will distribute in Canada and Hadida's Metropolitan Filmexport will handle France.

Pierre Billon, whose credits include Seraphin: Heart Of Stone, wrote the screenplay.

'New France presents Lions Gate with the perfect opportunity to affirm a strong commitment to its Canadian roots and Richard Goudreau has proven himself to be one of the best producers in Canada with the success of Les Boys,' said Meyer.