Regent acquires 'Departures' rights

To distribute Japan's entry for the foreign-language Oscar

Regent Releasing has acquired North American distribution rights to "Departures," the latest film from Yojiro Takita and Japan's submission for the best foreign-language film Oscar. Regent, which will distribute it in select U.S. cities this summer, acquired the film from international motion-picture studio and sales agent Shochiku Co.

"Departures" led the Japanese Academy Award nominations, receiving 13 in total including best picture and best director.

"Departures" marks the newest addition to the slate of art-house world cinema titles that Regent has acquired in recent months, including the 2008 Cannes Un Certain Regard Jury prize winner "Tokyo Sonata," Iran's Academy Awards submission, "The Song of Sparrows," "Serbis" and "$9.99."

"We are honored to bring Yojiro Takita's delightfully innovative feature to U.S. audiences this summer," said Mark Reinhart, West Coast general manager and executive vp distribution and acquisitions, Regent.

"Departures" recently won several festival awards including the Grand Prix des Ameriques Prize at the 32nd Montreal World Film Festival, the Audience Award for best feature at the 28th Hawaii International Film Festival, as well as awards for best picture, best director and best actor at the Golden Rooster Awards in China.

"Departures" stars Masahiro Motoki as a cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved, leaving him without a job. He decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work, finding a job in a funeral home.

The acquisition deal for "Departures" was negotiated between Reinhartand Satoko Ishida of Shochiku Co.