Los Angeles-based Inferno Distribution is gearing up for a September shoot on the English language remake Hachiko: A Dog's Story with Richard Gere attached to star.

Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel's financing, production and sales company acquired remake rights to the 1987 Japanese drama Hachiko Monogatari from Shochiku and is financing and pre-selling international rights here.

The project will shoot in Connecticut and would appear to be a good fit for Inferno's recent co-financing deal with Sony, under which Inferno handles international sales and Sony takes domestic rights. Seibel did not comment further.

First to go under the recently announced deal is John Glenn's psychological thriller The Heaven Project that stars Paul Walker and is currently shooting in Winnipeg.

Hachiko : A Dog's Story is inspired by the true story of a faithful Akita dog that kept vigil for nearly a decade at a Tokyo train station waiting for his dead master to return from work. The dog is so beloved by the Japanese that they erected a statue in his honour and celebrate him every year.

Hachiko is already attracting sustained interest from buyers. Meanwhile sales have closed on crime drama The Air I Breathe to Germany (Splendid), South Korea (Showtime), and Benelux (RCV).

The Diane Keaton comedy Smother, currently in post-production, has virtually sold out around the world. Rights have gone to the UK (Optimum), Germany (Telepool), Italy (IIF), Latin America and Mexico (Quality), Asia including Japan (Double Edge), Russia (Central Partnership), Scandinavia (Nordisk), and Eastern Europe (Ablo).

Seibel said The Experiment, Inferno's remake of Oliver Hirschbiegel's 2001 thriller Das Experiment, has been put on hold pending legal action with Maverick, which is here selling The Stanford Prison Experiment.