North American independentdistributor THINKFilm has acquired all North American rights to ByambasurenDavaa and Luigi Falorni's The Story Of The Weeping Camel, Mongolia's first official foreign languageAcademy Award entry that was one of the surprise hits of Toronto.

THINKFilm plans a spring2004 release for the film, which has just been nominated for best documentaryin the 2003 European Film Awards.

Set amid the vast expansesof South Mongolia's Gobi Desert, The Story Of The Weeping Camel follows the adventures of a family of camel herderswho summon a musician to coax a mother camel into nursing her baby.

The film was co-directed asa thesis film by Davaa, a native of Mongolia, and Falorni, an Italian, whileboth were completing their graduate degrees in film-making at the Munich FilmSchool.

THINKFilm acquired rightsfrom Neil Friedman at Menemsha Entertainment's world sales division afterthat company discovered the film at the Munich Film Festival last spring andguided it through its North American premiere in Toronto.

"It'sbreathtaking how this film takes a world and a way of life that is remote andexotic and turns it into an experience that is at once transcendent yetcompletely accessible," THINKFilm's head of distribution Mark Urmansaid in a statement.

"This film willdelight fans of movies like Winged Migration and our own Spellbound, while depicting something entirely original,"added Randy Manis, senior vice president of acquisitions and business affairs.

THINKFilm recently openedthe acclaimed documentary Bus 174,and also has Jonathan Demme's latest documentary, The Agronomist, scheduled for release next year.

Currently in release is theBiblical adaptation The Gospel Of John, and Lone Scherfig's forthcoming romantic comedy Wilbur WantsTo Kill Himself.