Indie hothouse NewmarketFilms has acquired North American rights to John Sayles' Silver City, a star-studded political satire about the state ofAmerican democracy that will be released this autumn to coincide with the final weeks of this year's USpresidential race.

Written, directed and editedby John Sayles, Silver City wasproduced by Maggie Renzi and shot in Denver last autumn by Haskell Wexler,Sayles' collaborator on films such as Limbo, The Secret Of Roan Inish and Matewan. Its ensemble cast includes Maria Bello, Thora Birch, Chris Cooper, RichardDreyfuss, Daryl Hannah, Danny Houston, Kris Kristofferson, Mary Kay Place andTim Roth.

The film, whose budget isestimated at between $5-$6m is set in Colorado, the core of America's "NewWest," during the state's gubernatorial race, and is as much an incisivelyfunny look at today's political world as it is a thorny neo-noir film.

Chris Cooper portrays agrammatically challenged, born-again candidate for governor is the scion of aformidable right-wing political dynasty.He is fumbling his way - George W. Bush-like - toward elected officewhen an unexplained corpse emerges to threaten his campaign, the family empire,and the special interest groups who pull his strings.

The film was acquired fromAnarchists' Convention, Sayles' and Renzi's production company, in a dealannounced jointly by Newmarket Films' partners William Tyrer, Chris Ball andBob Berney.

"SilverCity is John Sayles' best film yet and will really shake up this politicalseason with its spirited sense of mischief-making," commented Berney. "I lovedevery character in the film and John has put together a truly amazing cast, alldelivering inspired performances."

Said Renzi: "JohnSayles and I are thrilled to join the Newmarket juggernaut straight through tothe November 2nd election and beyond".

Anarchists' Convention hasbeen responsible recently for Casa De Los Babys, Sunshine State, Girlfight and theOscar-nominated short documentary Asylum. Silver City is Sayles'15th feature as writer and director, and Renzi's 12th collaboration with him asproducer.

Newmarket Films, thedistribution arm of the Newmarket Entertainment group of companies, mostrecently released, in partnership with Icon, Mel Gibson's controversial andcritically acclaimed The Passion Of The Christ, which reigned as number one atthe North American box-office for three consecutive weeks and already ranks as themost successful independent domestic release of all time. About to cross $300many day now, Passion is oncourse to dethrone Spider-Man as the second most successful release of all timein North America. With theatres booked out already for Easter weekend, an astounding $450meventual gross is not out of the question.

But Passion has not been Newmarket's only success in anunprecedented year that is about to see this upstart grab the leading marketshare over all the Hollywood studios. Monster, which garnered Charlize Theron an Academy Award,has also taken some $33m. And Whale Rider which snagged 13-year-old KeishaCastle Hughes a best actress Oscar nomination, making her the youngest actress inAcademy Awards history to be so honoured, took another $21m.

Next up for the company is Stander, a South African drama starring Thomas Jane (ThePunisher), and The Woodsman starring Kevin Bacon, whose performance as a sexoffender earned rave notices at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

The Newmarket Entertainmentgroup of companies is made up of a several companies that develop, produce anddistribute feature films for the big screen and home video. Newmarket Capital Group, founded 10years ago by William Tyrer and Chris Ball, is the flagship company and hasproduced such films as Mementoand the Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt-starrer, The Mexican.

Tyrer led the negotiationsfor Silver City on behalf ofNewmarket; attorney Sue Bodine negotiated on behalf of Anarchists' Convention.