US distributor Cinema Epoch has picked up Jean-Pierre Limosin's Young Yakuza, which played in official selection at Cannes this summer, and plans a January 2008 release.

Filmed over an 18-month period, Young Yakuza explores the Japanese criminal underworld by contrasting the lives of a 20-year-old initiate and his boss.

Celluloid Dreams' Hengameh Panahi and Christian Baute produced the film, which screened out of competition.

Cinema Epoch heads Gregory Hatanaka and Eunseon Ha negotiated the deal with Dreamachine's Alessandro Raja.

'We are excited to be able to present to the audience this intense and extremely candid look into this secret society,' Hatanaka said.

Upcoming releases from Cinema Epoch include the French cult film Avida produced by Mathieu Kassovitz and directed by Gustave De Kervern and Benoit Delepine, and the Japanese fantasy epic Wool 100% by Mai Tominaga.