Nicole Sperling
November 11, 2008 AT 05:32 AM EST

Although Nanette Burstein’s riveting documentary American Teen failed to catch fire at the box office last summer, at least it got the director noticed. The New York-based documentarian has been granted her first shot at a fiction film. Burstein, already Oscar-nominated for her 1999 documentary On the Ropes, is negotiating with New Line Cinema to helm the project Going the Distance, which centers on a couple’s attempt to survive their geographically undesirable relationship: one lives in Chicago, the other in Los Angeles. The script comes from Geoff LaTulippe, a former New Line script reader who sold the project to New Line without agency representation. It’s his debut screenplay.

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