US distributor Wellspring has acquired all worldwide rights excludingUS television to Liz Garbus' coming-of-age documentary Girlhood and will immediately begin to license thefilm internationally.

The film charts the livesof two Maryland girls as they attempt to put their violent past behind them andwill begin its theatrical release in New York on Oct 29, with a video and DVDrelease scheduled for spring 2004.

By that time Wellspring executives hope Girlhood will have added an Academy Award to itsname.

It has been submitted for Oscar consideration in the documentaryfeature category following a brief qualifying theatrical run in August.

To date, Girlhood has won the Jury Award at the Atlanta Film Festival and picked upaudience awards at the South by Southwest and Nantucket film festivals.

"Girlhood is anextraordinarily absorbing, sensitive and expertly directed film," Wellspring'shead of acquisitions Marie Therese Guirgis, who discovered the film at theAtlanta Film Festival, noted.

"We are so honored to work with Liz Garbus, who is clearly one ofthe great documentary film-makers of our era."

In 1998 Garbus received an Oscar nomination for her statepenitentiary documentary The Farm: Angola, USA, which she made in collaboration withJonathan Stack.