In the first major deal to be struck at the festival, THINKFilm has paid just under $3m for US rights to Helen Hunt's directorial debut Then She Found Me.

The distributor was among a pack of buyers chasing rights after the Killer Films production's world premiere on Friday, finally closing the deal at around 4am on Saturday morning following a protracted bout of talks.

THINKFilm's head of theatrical Mark Urman and senior vice president of acquisitions and business affairs Randy Manis negotiated the deal with CAA. Yves Dion bought Canadian rights for TVA Films.

At time of writing Grant Gee's documentary Joy Division and Thomas McCarthy's The Visitor were in play and buyers were awaiting screenings of George A Romero's Diary Of The Dead, Battle in Seattle, In Bloom, and Nothing Is Private.

Then She Found Me stars Hunt as a schoolteacher who dates the father of one of her students while in the throes of a midlife crisis. Bette Midler, Colin Firth and Matthew Broderick also star.

Killer's Pamela Koffler, Katie Roumel, and Christine Vachon produced with Connie Tavel and Hunt. John Wells served as executive producer.

Deal marks first acquisition by THINKFilm of a Killer film. The title falls outside of the companies' financing and distribution partnership.

'Of course we love THINKfilm, but their swift action and real connection to and vision for the film is what sealed the deal,' Koffler said.

'We are thrilled to be working with Killer and Helen on this thoroughly delightful film and look forward to bringing it to the widest possible audience,' Urman said.

Odyssey is handling international sales.