Strand Releasinghas acquired US rights to Apichatpong Weerasethakul's drama Tropical Malady, which played in competition at Cannesearlier this year where it won a special jury prize.

Set in the jungles of northeastern Thailand, the pictureexplores the blossoming friendship between a soldier and a country boy who areaffected by a dark spirit.

"Mr Weerasethakul's unique vision will be a welcomeaddition to Strand's library of film-makers who include such talents asFrancois Ozon, Manoel de Oliveira, Gregg Araki, Gaspar Noe, Raoul Ruiz, AlisonMaclean, and many others," Strand Releasing co-president Marcus Hu said in astatement.

Charlotte Mickienegotiated the deal on behalf of Celluloid Dreams with Jon Gerrans from StrandReleasing. Strand plans an early 2005 release.

The distributor alsorecently acquired Gilles Marchand's thriller Who Killed Bambi' from Celluloid Dreams.

Other titles slated for release this year include FaithAkin's 2004 Berlinale winner Head-On,and John Greyson's interracial romance Proteus.