New York-based Wellspring Media has acquired US distribution rights to Brazilian biopic Madame Sata, the directorial debut of Karim Ainouz, which had its world premiere in Cannes' Un Certain Regard this year.

According to Wellspring acquisitions head Krysanne Katsoolis, the company is scheduling a platform theatrical release in April 2003 to be followed by a home video release on the Wellspring label.

Wellspring began acquisition talks soon after seeing it at Toronto, according to Katsoolis. Madame Sata is the true story of a flamboyant Rio Street fighter and drag queen who prowled the city of Rio during the 1930s. It is co produced by Brazilian director Walter Salles' Videofilmes, Canal Plus France and Brazilian indie distributor Lumiere EBA. Wild Bunch handles international sales.

The drama won the top prize at Spain's 28th Huelva Ibero-American Film Festival which wrapped last Saturday. It also took home the Best actor prize for lead Lorenzo Ramos and best cinematography for Walter Carvalho.