Fortissimo Films has picked up all rights outside Japan to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Air Doll. Japan’s Asmik Ace Entertainment negotiated the deal on behalf of its co-production partners on the film - Engine Film, Bandai Visual, TV Man Union and Eisei Gekijo.

Kor-eda won the Asian Film Award for best director last night for his most recent film Still Walking which also picked up the CEC award for best film at San Sebastian. His 2004 film Nobody Knows picked up best actor at Cannes.

Currently in post-production, Air Doll stars Korean actress Bae Doo-na (The Host), Japanese actors Arata (Ping Pong), Itao Itsuji (Tokyo Tower: Mom And Me And Sometimes Dad) and Joe Odagiri (Plastic City) and Japanese actress Yo Kimiko (Departures).

Based on Yoshiie Gouda’s graphic novel, The Pneumatic Figure Of A Girl, the film tells the story of a life-size inflatable sex doll that develops a soul and falls in love with its owner, a video store clerk.

Other behind-the-scenes talent on Air Doll includes DoP Mark Li Ping-bing who has worked with Wong Kar Wai and Hou Hsiao-hsien.

The deal for international rights was brokered by Fortissimo co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht and Asmik Ace deputy general manager of international, Joe Ikeda. Fortissimo will start selling the film, which is scheduled for completion at the end of April, here at Filmart.

Barendrecht said: ‘We have long been admirers of Kore-eda who is undoubtedly one of the finest Japanese directors working today. Collaborating with Kore-eda and Asmik Ace Entertainment on this project is a truly thrilling prospect.’

Celluloid Dreams previously handled Nobody Knows and Still Walking.