French sales outfit CelluloidDreams has acquired worldwide rights excluding Japan and Singapore to 4:30, the latest film from young Singapore writer/director Royston Tan whose credits include 15.

The film is a quiet andintrospective drama about urban loneliness with only two main characters, aChinese boy and his Korean tenant.

"We view 4:30 as a natural progression of a mature voice and storyteller addressingthe current society and environment of contemporary Singapore in a challenging and spirited manner withunderscored humour as evident in Royston's previous work," says the NewZealand-based Michael Wrenn of Celluloid Dreams.

Singapore films have lately scored a string of internationaldistribution deals. Other recent acquisitions include Kelvin Tong's The Maid by Fortissimo Films, Djinn's Perth by Alanys and Eric Khoo's Be With Me by Bavaria Film.

4:30 is due to premiere at the NHK Asian Film Festivalwhich opens December 17 in Tokyo.The US$400,000 film is the first co-production between Japanese publicbroadcaster NHK and Singapore - in collaboration with the Singapore FilmCommission and Eric Khoo's Zhao Wei Films.

The festival, which wasnamed the Asian filmmaker of the year at Pusan this year, will also premieretwo new NHK co-productions - Don't LookBack by Korean director Kim Young-nam and Upwards by Vietnamese director Bui Thac Chuyen. The premiere ofIsraeli director Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud,however, has been postponed to next February after one of the actors sufferedan injury.

A total of 22 past NHKco-productions since 1995 will also be showcased at the festival which runsuntil December 25.

Meanwhile, Tan is currentlydeveloping his next feature, 132, atragic love story about smell, with his long-term producer Khoo. The titlerefers to a local bus No. 132 which is the longest bus ride in Singapore. Shooting is due to start towards the end of 2006.