Paramount Classics, Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. and Serendipity Point Films jointly announced today Paramount Classics’ acquisition of Sunshine for the major international territories of Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Paramount Classics had previously acquired Sunshine for the U.S. market. Mark Horowitz, President, Alliance Atlantis Pictures International, Robert Lantos of Serendipity Point Films, and Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein of Paramount Classics announced the deal. Sunshine was produced by Robert Lantos (The Sweet Hereafter, Black Robe) and Andras Hamori (The Sweet Hereafter, eXistenZ), directed by Academy Award winner Istvan Szabo (Mephisto, Colonel Redl, Hanussen) and stars Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, The English Patient).

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has won three European Film Awards, including Best Actor (Ralph Fiennes), Best Screenplay (Istvan Szabo and Israel Horovitz), and Best Cinematography (Lajos Koltai). Having already grossed in excess of $460,000 at the Canadian box office, Sunshine expands into a national release this week prior to the announcement of the Canadian Genie Awards for which it received 14 nominations. Paramount Classics anticipates a late spring or early summer release in the U.S.

Mark Horowitz, President, Alliance Atlantis Pictures International, commented, “Following the success of Sunshine at the European Film Awards and its terrific release in Canada, Paramount Classics’ acquisition of these important international territories, in addition to the U.S., further serves to illustrate not only the universal appeal of the film but Paramount’s commitment worldwide.”

“Istvan Szabo has crafted an extraordinary film. We are extremely proud to be working with such an accomplished talent. Ralph Fiennes is one of the most remarkable actors of our time and his work in Sunshine is nothing short of Oscar-worthy,” said Vitale and Dinerstein.

“For me, Sunshine is a uniquely important film. I am confident that with Paramount Classics it will receive the intelligent and committed distribution and marketing that it deserves,” said Robert Lantos.

Sunshine tells the gripping story of a family that rises from humble origins to positions of wealth and power, only to fall victim to the events that defined Europe over the past century. Spanning three generations, Fiennes stars in the three leading roles; Ignatz, the pragmatic jurist, his Olympic-athlete son, Adam, and his political grandson, Ivan. The film intertwines personal drama and love affairs against a backdrop of larger social forces to create a powerful metaphor for European history of the last century.

Sunshine also stars Academy Award nominee Rosemary Harris (Tom & Viv, Crossing Delancey), Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, Chain Reaction), Jennifer Ehle (Paradise Road, Wilde), Deborah Kara Unger (The Hurricane, Crash), Molly Parker (Kissed, The Five Senses), James Frain (Elizabeth, Hilary & Jackie) and Academy Award winner William Hurt (Children of a Lesser God, Broadcast News).

An Alliance Atlantis Communications and Serendipity Point Films presentation in association with Kinowelt, Sunshine is a Robert Lantos Production of an Istvan Szabo Film. Robert Lantos and Andras Hamori are producers. Rainer Kölmel and Jonathan Debin are executive producers. Academy Award winner Maurice Jarre (A Passage to India, Dr. Zhivago) composed the score. Sunshine was written by Szabo and Israel Horovitz from a story by Szabo.