The hottest title at the European Film Market in Berlin this year, Les Choristes has been snapped up by Miramax.

In a deal completed on Saturday, the US mini-studio acquired rights for North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.

The first-time film directed by Christophe Barratier was screened on Monday (9 Feb) last week and immediately struck a chord with buyers from around the world. After an extra screening in Paris on Thursday, sales agent Pathe International had three firm offers from the specialist divisions of US studios. Disappointed bidders are believed to have included Sony Pictures Classics and Focus Features.

"Christophe Barratier, [producers] Jacques Perrin and Arthur Cohn are very happy to have come to an agreement with Miramax over this wonderful film," said Pathe International in a statement. The picture was brought to Miramax by Agnes Mentre and Maeva Gatineau.

Gerard Jugnot stars as an unemployed music teacher, hired as the supervisor of a correctional school. There he uses music to both tame his unruly students and defeat the brutal methods of its head master. Screen International's reviewer Dan Fainaru said: "Les Choristes unashamedly piles all the cliches of the genre one on top of the other. However, it does so with such good spirits and with so much relish that few will be able to resist its charm."

Barratier previously was one of the producers on big-budget animal documentaries Microcosmos and Le Peuple Migrateur and on Himalaya, L'Enfance d'Un Chef.