One year-old domesticdistributor THINKFilm has acquired North American rights to the documentary Spellbound which recently played in the Toronto InternationalFilm Festival. The film, directed by Jeff Blitz and produced by Sean Welch,follows the real-life experience of the National Spelling Bee as seen throughthe eyes of eight, driven young spellers competing for the top prize.

The film world premiered at South By SouthWest in Marchthis year, winning the Best Documentary Jury Award, followed by the audienceand best documentary jury awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, theaudience award at the San Francisco DocFest and best documentary at theWoodstock Film Festival in September. THINKFilm plans its theatrical release inspring 2003.

Blitz and Welch, who previously collaborated onBlitz's USC graduate film Wonderland with George Segal, were representedin the deal by Cinetic Media and Submarine Entertainment. Mark Urman, head ofdistribution, and Randy Manis, vice president of acquisitions and businessaffairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of THINKFilm.

"Spellbound is a sensational film, full of laugh-out-loud humor,nail-biting suspense and lots and lots of heart," said Urman in astatement. "It was the most entertaining movie we saw in Toronto and thefact that it is a documentary is almost incidental."

THINKFilm's upcomingslate includes Peter Mattei's Love In The Time Of Money, Gus Van Sant's Gerry and Thom Fitzgerald's The Event which the company co-produced.