The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced North Korean refugee drama Crossing as its entry to the 81st Academy Awards best foreign-language film nominations.

Based on real-life interviews from North Korean defectors, the film follows the story of a father and son tragically separated and trying to find each other, risking their lives over heavily guarded terrain in China and Mongolia to make it to South Korea.

Director Kim Tae-gyun is best known for his martial arts high school film Volcano High. The film was distributed locally by start-up Big House Vantage Holdings and is sold internationally by Fine Cut.

Vancouver International Film Festival will be screening it in the Dragons and Tigers competition this Sept 25-Oct 10.

The film was in the running with four others - Kim Jee-woon's kimchi Western The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Lee Joon-ik's Vietnam War melodrama Sunny, Na Hong-jin's serial killer thriller The Chaser, and Im Soon-rye's women's handball team film Forever The Moment.

KOFIC's special selection committee for the submission was made up of seven critics and producers, including the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) director Han Sang-jun and producer Jonathan Kim.

The committee stated it gave points to the film because 'there is high potential for US distribution and commercial success in view of the level of perception on Crossing's theme, the issue of North Korean refugee's human rights,' and that because of 'the political subject matter the film could have more appeal for Academy members and Americans' in general.

Crossing is currently looking at a plagiarism suit with a court date pending in three weeks, after which point if the filmmakers are found guilty, KOFIC will select a different entrant.

South Korea 's previous submissions to the Academy included Lee Joon-ik's King And The Clown, Kang Je-gyu's Taegukgi, Kim Ki-duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter And Spring, and Im Kwon-taek's Chunhyang. None so far have succeeded in being nominated for the award.