A number of internationaltheatrical distributors have bought local territorial rights to HBO Films' RealWomen Have Curves, even though theaward-winning made-for-cable production will not be seen in US theatres.

Among the buyersannounced yesterday by the pay-TV networks sales arm, HBO Enterprises, were MosaicEntertainment, which bought UK rights in association with Optimum Releasing;Italy's BIM Distribution; Mexico's Gussi; ABC Distribution ofBenelux; Monopole Pathé Films of Switzerland; Noah Communications ofIsrael; South Africa's Nu Metro; ERFilm of Turkey; and Spentzos Film ofGreece.

'We expect toannounce similar deals for the film in other international marketsshortly,' said Perry Schneider, president, HBO Enterprises.

Real Women Have Curves, which marked the directorial debut of PatriciaCardosa, won two awards at this year's Sundance Film Festival: the DramaticAudience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Acting to America Ferrera and LupeOntiveros. Its crowd-pleasing success at Sundance prompted numerous offers fromenthusiastic US buyers, all of which were rejected by HBO Films chief ColinCallender in order to preserve the pay-TV premiere.

There had been some doubt aswhether HBO would be able to find theatrical buyers overseas for movies with noUS theatrical release, But the sales so far on Real Women Have Curves, not to mention Momentum Pictures' recentpick-up of My House In Umbria forthe UK, suggest otherwise.

'Increasinglyinternational distributors are recognising the potential value of what we'redoing in the domestic marketplace,' claimed Callender at a press breakfastin Cannes last week that was intended to drive home the company's newoffensive into international theatrical markets. 'We spend a lot of moneyin the A of P&A. Which is more than you can say for the many films whichare sold in foreign under the guise of getting a US theatrical release, butwhich never do.'

He suggested too that themajor studios' increasing focus on blockbuster franchise pictures is leaving agap in the marketplace for director-driven pictures such as Mike Nichols' Wit, John Frankenheimer's Path To War and Mick Jackson's currently shooting Live In Baghdadstarring Michael Keaton and Helena Bonham Carter.

Upcoming pictures on the HBOFilms production slate include Pancho Villa As Himself to be directed by Bruce Beresford and produced byMark Gordon, Normal to bedirected by Jane Anderson and star Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson, and thelong-awaited film of Tony Kushner's Angels In America starring Al Pacino, Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep.