Sony PicturesClassics has extended its distribution ties with Merchant Ivory Productions byacquiring North American rights to Heights, a low budget comedy of manners set in contemporaryManhattan.

SPC is alsonegotiating to acquire international territories on the film, a $2-3m MerchantIvory production that stars Elizabeth Banks, Glenn Close, James Marsden, JesseBradford and John Light, with a guest appearance by Isabella Rossellini.

The announcementcame during this year's Sundance Film Festival , further evidence that ParkCity's media draw is being used to divert attention to projects and companiesthat fall outside the festival programme itself.

No release datehas been scheduled for Heights, which is now in post-production, although there is a hope of afuture festival play, perhaps at next year's Sundance.

Heights was originally written by Amy Fox as aone-act play that was well reviewed during its off-Broadway run. Fox co-wrotethe screen adaptation for with Chris Terrio, who also directed the film versionas his feature-length debut.

The filmintertwines five lives as they unravel among the nightspots, theatres, rooftopsand streets of New York over the course of one night. At the centre of thestory is Isabel, played by Banks, a young woman trying to decide between herlife in the city and the prospect of a quiet existence as a suburban wife.

Just recently,SPC also acquired another Merchant Ivory production, the 1930s Chinese perioddrama The White Countess that stars Natasha Richardson, Ralph Fiennes and VanessaRedgrave. That film was bought for North America, Mexico and Australia.