National Geographic Entertainment has acquired US rights to Cherien Dabis' hit Sundance drama Amreeka and will release in theatres this autumn.

The picture will open the New Directors/New Films series at The Museum Of Modern Art and The Film Society Of Lincoln Center in New York on March 25.

National Geographic Films president Adam Leipzig pursued the picture immediately following the world premiere, eventually beating out several other buyers.

Tiffany Leclere and Kattie Evans handled negotiations for National Geographic Entertainment with Rena Ronson and Jerome Duboz of William Morris Independent on behalf of Charlotte Mickie's E1 Entertainment International, which holds sales rights.

Amreeka stars Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallen, Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Yussef Abu-Warda and Joseph Ziegler in the story of an immigrant single mother who dreams of a new life for herself and her son in the promised land of small town Illinois.

Dabis, who previously received a seed grant from National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival Project for her short film Make A Wish, wrote the screenplay. Christina Piovesan and Paul Barkin produced and Alicia Sams, Greg Keever and Dabis served as executive producers.

Amreeka is an E1 Entertainment and Levantine Entertainment presentation, in association with Rotana Studios and Showtime Arabia, of a First Generation Films, Alcina Pictures, Buffalo Gal Pictures and Eagle Vision Media Group production.

'This is a movie that makes you feel really good about America,' Leipzig said. 'It's a universal family story because everyone has come to this country as an immigrant or has an immigrant experience in their family history. It's really funny and has dramatic moments and Cherien strikes a remarkable balance.'