Marking its first Sundance Film Festival acquisition this year, Miramax Films beat out several other rivals to pick up all English speaking territories and Italian rights to The Station Agent, a small, intimate character study from first-time director and screenwriter Tom McCarthy that appears in dramatic competition here.

Although no price was mentioned in the announcement, those not directly connected with the film said that a $1.1m tag had been originally quoted for domestic and international distribution rights. Miramax would be expected release The Station Agent itself in North America, Australia and Italy, while handling sales in the remaining English-language territories through Miramax International.

The Station Agent stars Peter Dinklage as a dwarf who seeks solace in a disused train deport in rural New Jersey, where he is forced to share his isolation with two other loners, played by Bobby Cannavale and Patricia Clarkson. Together, this unlikely and oddball trio discover solitude is better spent together.

Hot off her supporting role in Far From Heaven, Clarkson also stars in another of this year's hotly-pursued Sundance competition films, Peter Hedges' Pieces Of April, a comedy that was shot on digital video. Both films are being represented in Park City by Cinetic Media, which has once again has found itself in the Sundance bidding vortex.

The Station Agent was produced by SenArt Films' Robert May and Kathryn Tucker and Next Wednesday's Mary Jane Skalski, whose previous producing credits include Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner The Brothers McMullen.

In addition to this film, SenArt also produced one of this year's Sundance documentary competition contenders, Steve James' Stevie. It is currently in production, along with Radical Media and Sony Pictures Classics, on Errol Morris' long-awaited documentary about Robert MacNamara.

Commenting on the Station Agent deal, May said his company "found Miramax to be the most passionate distributor we spoke to about the film, and one that has the resources at their disposal to significantly benefit the actors and filmmakers involved."

For its part, Miramax described its latest purchase as a "magical film made by an extraordinarily talented first time director."

In making the announcement, Agnes Mentre, Miramax's executive vice president of acquisitions and co-productions, said it was "rare that our entire team feels so passionate about a film as they do with The Station Agent. SenArt Films is a relatively new company, but they clearly have great taste and an instinct for quality projects."

The film was brought to Miramax by Mentre, Arianna Bocco, senior vice president of acquisitions, and the rest of the Miramax acquisitions team.

Mentre and Stuart Ford, senior vice president of acquisitions and international operations, negotiated the agreement on behalf of Miramax. Cinetic Media's John Sloss negotiated on behalf of May, Tucker, and Skalski. McCarthy is represented by the Gersh Agency.