Michael Schorr's Schultze Gets The Blues, the opening film at this year's Hof International Film Days (Oct 23-26), has been picked up for theatrical distribution by the German arm of UIP.

The debut feature, which was produced by filmkombinat Nordost in co-operation with ZDF's Das kleine Fernsehspiel unit, won the prize for best direction in the Controcorrente competition section at Venice this year.

As has been Hof's tradition over the past 36 years under director Heinz Badewitz, new German productions will be the focus of the 80-film programme with world premieres of Veit Helmer's Gate To Heaven (Tor Zum Himmel), Maren Ade's Der Wald Vor Lauter Baeumen, Stefan Sarazin's Nitschewo and Alerun Goette's Die Kinder Sind Tot, among others.

Also confirmed for the international programme are Robert Altman's The Company, Ruth Mader's Struggle, Soren Kragh-Jacobsen's Skagerrak, Emily Young's Kiss Of Life, Wiebke von Carolsfeld's Marion Bridge, David Mackenzie's Young Adam, Tom McCarthy's The Station Agent, and Barbara Albert's Free Radicals (Boese Zellen).