Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of the few modern Japanese film-makers with worldwide recognition, both as a genre director and as an auteur. With films such as Cure, Pulse and Retribution (which screened at Venice last year) Kurosawa's name is synonymous with J-horror.

Yet his filmography offers much more than scares. In License To Live, Charisma and Bright Future, which competed at Cannes in 2003, Kurosawa crafts unique depictions of human relations and society.

His next film is a project called Tokyo Sonata, a snapshot of a modern Japanese family that keep secrets from one another about their daily lives.

"It's a more commercial film with universal appeal," suggests Yukie Kito, who is producing the project through Entertainment Farm. "It's about a family with dreams and hidden passions, as well as delving into the psyche of Japanese society. Kurosawa's films are often dark but they have hope."

The script is being written by Australian film-maker Max Mannix. "It's sort of a turning point for Kurosawa in that he's working with a foreign writer's script," says Kito.

The screenplay was originally optioned by Entertainment Farm, which began its relationship with Kurosawa through handling sales of Retribution to Lionsgate. Once Kurosawa expressed an interest, Fortissimo Films came on board as a co-producer and is handling international sales. Tokyo Sonata was one of 25 projects showcased at last month's Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum.

Casting is still unconfirmed but Kurosawa always attracts high-calibre talent. "Japan's best actors want to work with him," says Kito.