The US-based company hopes to start production on the remake, which will be set in New York, before the end of the year.

The Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA) has secured US remake rights to Japanese drama Departures (Okuribito), the 2009 Academy Award-winner for best foreign language film.

The remake rights were acquired from Sedic International, with the deal brokered two weeks ago by international rights specialist Tetsu Fujimura of Filosophia.

MPCA CEO Brad Krevoy spoke of the project’s appeal. “We are thrilled to bring this touching film to the US audience. This powerful story has a universal appeal and moves everyone who sees it.”

Krevoy will produce with Mike Callaghan and Reuben Liber.

Sedic developed and headed up the original film’s production consortium, with Sedic CEO Toshiaki Nakazawa producing. The company’s credits include upcoming samurai action film Thirteen Assassins, co-produced with Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company.

Sedic CEO Toshiaki Nakazawa and Fujimura will also retain producing credits on the remake.

“We will treat our Japanese partners as equal creative partners, and they will be consulted on all aspects of the remake from story to casting,” stated Krevoy.

MPCA is aiming to start production this year, with the story relocated to present-day New York. No cast has been announced yet.

The US company is also in developing an English-language remake of 2002 Japanese hit Resurrection (Yomigaeri), also in partnership with Filosophia. The remake is being produced with DreamWorks.

Aside from its Oscar win, Departures’ picked up over-100 domestic and international prizes including the Grand Prix at the Montreal World Film Festival and ten prizes at the Japan Academy Awards.