Neil Friedman's MenemshaFilms has picked up US distribution rights to Chile's Oscar entry Machuca which played in Directors Fortnight at Cannes thisyear as well as at Edinburgh, Pusan, Vancouver and Montreal.

Directed by Andres Wood,Machuca is set in Santiago, Chile, in 1973 and tells the story of thefriendship between two eleven year-old boys, one from a wealthy neighbourhoodand one from an illegal shantytown.

Friedman closed the dealwith the film's sales agent Latido and producers Gerardo Herrero, Mamoun Hassanand Wood.

"Machuca really fits the profile of the films we havedistributed," said Friedman. "We have always been interested in Latin films andthe Latin influence on US culture. This is an awards-worthy film and acritic-friendly one. It's an emotional, moving piece of cinema and willsurprise people who don't know too much about it. I think it will charmarthouse audiences in America."

Menemsha has distributedseveral Latino films in the past in the US including Second Skin from Spain and El Bonaerense from Argentina and is planning to release MarceloPineyro's Kamchatka fromArgentina in 2005. The company, which has handled international sales on filmsincluding Son Of The Bride and Avelleneda'sMoon from Argentina among others.