ContentFilm International has taken on international rights to Yojiro Takita's Departures, which is Japan's submission for the foreign-language Oscar race.

Departures (Okuribito) is already a box-office hit in Japan, taking more than 3m admissions ($25m) and it also won Best Film at the Montreal Wrold Film Festival in August.

Masahiro Motoki, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ryoko Hirosue and Kimiko Yo star in the unusual love story. The plot follows a a cellist whose orchestra disbands, prompting him to return to his small hometown where he finds work preparing bodies at a funeral home - to his wife's dismay.

A US deal will be announced soon.

Produced by Toshiaki Nakazawa and Toshihisa Watai with Yasuhiro Mase acting as executive producer, the film is produced by Departures Film Partners, and distributed by Shochiku Co., Ltd.

Masaki Koga from Shochiku said:'We are excited to find a great partner such as ContentFilm to be working on the international sales of this wonderful film, which has been successful in Japan and in many film festivals. With working with ContentFilm, I am sure that it will reach a very wide audience outside of Japan.'

Content's Jamie Carmichael added: 'Departures has really taken our breath away. It is a beautiful, tender and thoughtful film. Everyone I know who's seen it has been very moved - and we're delighted to be working on it with Shochiku.'

Deals have already been done with Korea (KD Media), Taiwan (Zeus Films), Singapore (Golden Village), Malaysia (Golden Screen Cinema), Australia and New Zealand (Madman Entertainment), and Greece (Videorama).

The film screens today at 11 am here at the AFM.