Madman Cinema has acquiredall Australian and New Zealand rights to TheThree Burials Of Melquiades Estrada from French sales agent EuropaCorp.

The film is the directorialdebut of Tommy Lee Jones, whose performance in the drama earned him the bestactor award at Cannes this year. Writer Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, 21 Grams) won best screenplay at the same event.

Madman worked with EuropaCorpon its March release of Ong Bak andplans to release Three Burials nextyear along with two other films that won awards at Cannes - writer/director Michael Haneke's thriller Hidden and Sergio Machado's Lower City, which was produced by Walter Salles.

"Three Burials is a masterful cinematic piece that audiences willfind rewarding and that marks a new level of maturity in Madman's theatricaldistribution," said joint chief executive of the Madman group, Paul Wiegard.

Also on Madman's slate nextyear is Fabian Bielinsky's The Aura,director/co-writer Pan Nalin's Valley OfThe Flowers and the Jacobson brothers' Australian feature debut Kenny.

Optimum Releasing has all UK rights, while Sony Pictures Classic has North andSouth American rights. It had its gala US premiere as part of the AFI FEST 2005this week.