Strand Releasing and TheSundance Channel are jointly acquiring domestic rights and Yoram Pelman'sTomorrow Films has acquired international sales rights to to hit documentary TheCockettes directed by Bill Weber andDavid Weissman.

The Cockettes is the story of the flamboyant, drug-fuelled troupeof performers who dressed up in drag and glitter for a series of legendarymidnight shows at the Palace Theater in San Francisco in the late 60s and early70s. The film was an audience favourite in the documentary competition sectionat the Sundance Film Festival and got a similar reaction in its Panorama slotat the Berlin Film Festival in February. Weissman and Weber won the BestDirector award for the film at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen recently.

In an unusual arrangementbrokered by sales reps Jonathan Dana and Jeff Dowd and attorney IrwinRappaport, Strand and Sundance Channel will collaborate on all marketingefforts for the film beginning with a sneak preview of the film on SundanceChannel following the film's San Francisco premiere engagement andleading into the theatrical rollout of the film.

Strand has bought theatricaland ancillary distribution rights while Sundance has US pay TV rights. The dealwas negotiated by Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans, co-presidents of Strand, and byLarry Greenberg, director of acquisitions for Showtime Networks and TheSundance Channel for Sundance, with Dana, Dowd and Rappaport.

The film will open at theCastro Theatre in San Francisco on May 10 and open throughout the US over thesummer. Sundance will play the film once only on June 21 before the nationalrollout begins on June 28. Sundance has also acquired the film for a pay-TVwindow at the end of its theatrical run.

"By collaborating withStrand Releasing on the release of The Cockettes, the two companies can jointlycreate a much larger national profile for the film," said Paola Freccero,senior vice president of film programming at Sundance Channel, in a statement."We see this as a creative way to pool resources and generate as muchawareness as possible for a great film and a fun slice of history!"

"Everyone has been sosupportive and smart, said Jonathan Dana. "Strand has great experiencemaximizing the potential of specialized films and with the 'turbo-charge' fromSundance Channel's ongoing marketing support, we are confident the picture willreach a wide audience. The notion of doing a national 'sneak' on SundanceChannel is brilliant. For an independent film, it is the functional equivalentof a 2,000 screen sneak that a major studio would do.'"

For Pelman, the film joinsan eclectic range of mainstream and arthouse fare which Tomorrow offers fromNeal Slavin's Focus andMichael Petroni's Till Human Voices Wake Us to the re-issue of HB Halicki's Gone In 60Seconds to actioner Double Bang with William Baldwin and Jordan Brady's soonto be released comedy The Third Wheel with Ben Affleck, Luke Wilson and Denise Richards and Brady's AmericanGirl with Jena Malone and BradRenfro.

"We are confident thefilm will be received enthusiastically by audiences across the world,"said Pelman.