'Vitus' dances to N. America


COLOGNE, Germany -- Sony Pictures Classics has picked up North American rights for the Swiss drama "Vitus" from the German sales group Media Luna Entertainment, Media Luna said Monday.

Fredi M. Murer's "Vitus," which tells the story of a gifted musical protege who defies his parents, is Switzerland's official selection for the 2007 foreign-language Oscar nomination race.

"Vitus" debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year and has since sold to more than 20 territories, including Germany (Schwartz-Weiss), France (Ocean Films) and Japan (Tokyo Theaters).

Already a success in its native Switzerland, where it has pulled in close to 200,000 admissions, "Vitus" will bow in Germany on Dec. 21.

The movie recently screened at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, where it won the audience award for best feature.