Paramount Classics has acquired North American, UK and Australianrights to Jacob Estes' directorial debut Mean Creek, which premiered in American Spectrum atthe Sundance Film Festival last month to strong reviews.

Based on Estes' original screenplay, the story centres on agroup of friends who are forced to confront the notions of friendship andresponsibility when a river trip goes awry. Rory Culkin, Trevor Morgan andJoshua Peck star.

"Jacob Estes has crafted an auspicious debut film that isperfectly written and impressively acted by an outstanding young cast,"Paramount Classics' co-presidents Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein said in ajoint statement.

"It's very exciting that Ruth and David have chosen our firstfilm, Mean Creek, to join their roster of pictures from first-time directorsincluding Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count On Me and Sofia Coppola's The VirginSuicides," WhitewaterFilms' Rick Rosenthal said.

"We're extremely proud of our cast and applaud Jacob's directorialdebut."

The deal was closed between Paramount Classics and Rena Ronson of William MorrisIndependent, which is representing the film, along with Linda Lichter of Lichter, Grossman & Nichols, the attorney for Whitewater Films.

UpcomingParamount Classics releases include Mike Hodges' thriller noir I'll SleepWhen I'm Dead, starringClive Owen; Paul McGuigan's murder drama The Reckoning, starring Paul Bettany, Willem Dafoe andBrian Cox; and Yann Samuell's award-winning surreal romance Love Me If YouDare, which starsGuillaume Canet (The Beach) and Marion Cotillard (Big Fish).