Santa Monica-based Strand Releasing has snapped up North American rights to award-winning Mexican gay drama A Thousand Peace Clouds Encircle The Sky (Mil Nubes De Paz Cercan El Cielo) by Julian Hernandez.

Hernandez, who also wrote the screenplay, recently took home the Best Director and Best Sound awards for his film at the recent Guadalajara Mexican Film Showcase which ran from March 21 to 27.

Strand co-presidents Marcos Hu and Jon Gerrans spotted the film in Berlin 2003 where it won the Best Film Teddy award. "We are thrilled to have acquired Mil Nubes and happy to hear it has won in Guadalajara," said Hu. "Mil Nubes is reminiscent of films by Jim Jarmusch and John Cassavetes," he said.

The film revolves around a gay teenager who wanders through Mexico City in search of someone who can interpret the meaning between the lines of a farewell letter from a lover.

Gerrans and Imcine Deputy Director of International Distribution and Promoti on Susana Lopez Aranda negotiated the deal. "We're proud to have gained distribution in the US which, as we all know, is a difficult market to penetrate," said Aranda. " We hope this paves the way for other small Mexican films to enter the US," she added.

Imcine will sell rights to the rest of the world at Cannes. This is the third Spanish-language feature picked up by Strand. In recent years, Strand took North American rights to Marcelo Pineyro's Burnt Money (Plata Quemada) (Argentina) and Venturo Pons' Beloved/ Friend (Amic/Amat) (Spain), both gay-themed.

Strand has yet to decide on Mil Nubes' release schedule and its official English title. The film will probably make the rounds of the US festival circuit before its theatrical release.

The full title of the drama, written by Hernandez, is Mil Nubes Cercan El Cielo, Amor, Jamas Acabaras De Ser Amor which is roughly translated as A Thousand Clouds Encircle The Sky, Love, You Will Never Stop Being Love.