Lionsgate has won the battle for North American distribution rights to Lee Daniels' Sundance winner Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire and has tied up with Tyler Perry's 34th Street Films and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films for the release.

The company acquired the rights from Smokewood Entertainment Group in a deal brokered by Cinetic Media.

Elephant Eye Films is handling international sales and will screen the film for buyers at Berlin later this week.

Lionsgate had previously worked with Daniels on Monster's Ball, which Daniels produced and Lionsgate financed.

'Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire is an extraordinary film about taking hold of life; to watch it is to be galvanized and uplifted,' said Lionsgate's president of acquisition and co-production Jason Constantine. 'Monster's Ball introduced Lee as a gifted producer; we believe Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire firmly establishes him as one of America's finest directors.'

'I know from my Monster's Ball experience that Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire has found the best home possible. I'm really looking forward to working again with smart, innovative friends at Lionsgate.'

Lionsgate beat out other distributors thought to include The Weinstein Company, Overture Films and Summit Entertainment to the film which is based on the 1996 bestseller about a heavily abused African American teenager in Harlem who finds meaning in life.

The film won both the grand jury prize and the audience award at Sundance as well as an acting prize for comedienne Mo'Nique who plays the girl's mother. The girl herself is played by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe and the supporting cast includes Paula Patton, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.

The Winfrey and Perry alliances will help make the film an event in the African American audience

'I've never seen anything like it,' said Winfrey. 'The moment I saw Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire, I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to encourage other people to see this movie. The film is so raw and powerful - it split me open.'

'I am honored to join Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate in releasing Lee Daniels' exceptional film,' said Perry. 'I was immensely moved by Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire, and wanted to do whatever I could to help others share in its redemptive experience. Lionsgate is the ideal studio to shepherd this artistically courageous film to market.'

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Eda Kowan, senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions, Wendy Jaffe, executive vice president business & legal affairs, acquisitions and co-productions, and Constantine; Cinetic sold the film and negotiated the deal on behalf of Smokewood and Lee Daniels in close collaboration with attorneys Roger Arar and Craig Emanuel at Loeb & Loeb, Sloss Eckhouse Brennan, and Jonathan Gray of Gray Krauss.