Chicago (Sept. 22, 2011) Music Box Films has acquired all US rights to the French-Canadian film MONSIEUR LAZHAR, Canada’s official submission to the 2012 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. The film won the Audience Award at this summer’s Locarno Film Festival and was named Best Canadian Feature last week at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, MONSIEUR LAZHAR tells the story of an immigrant substitute teacher (played by Monhamed Fellag) who brings emotional stability to a middle school class shaken by the suicide of their well-liked teacher. The film is the latest production of Microscope, the same Montreal-based production company that produced the Academy Award-nominee “Incendies.” The deal was negotiated by Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, a partner in international sales agency Films Distribution and Music Box Films’ managing director Edward Arentz.

“This is a film that takes you by surprise and stealthily taps into deep wellsprings of emotion in ways that don’t feel manipulative. Releasing this kind of intelligent and moving filmmaking is a privilege and we thank Films Distribution for the opportunity to present MONSIEUR LAZHAR to US audiences,” says Arentz.

“This is the first time we are working with Music Box. After MONSIEUR LAZHAR premiered in Toronto, we had several US distributors vying for our movie. We chose to work with Music Box for their impeccable track record and their true dedication to foreign language movies, and most of all, for their sheer enthusiasm for this film. We know they will give MONSIEUR LAZHAR the exposure it deserves in the US market,” says Brigaud-Robert.

Music Box plans a spring 1st quarter 2012 release.