South Korean distributor/investor Big House Vantage Holdings has announced the sale of North Korean refugee film Crossing to Cinequanon for Japan.

Sales agent Fine Cut handled the deal for the film.

Crossing is based on the true stories of people oppressed by the politics and poverty in North Korea, who risk their lives to cross into China and then again on different routes to South Korea.

Directed by Kim Tae-kyun (Volcano High), the film tells the story of a father and young son who are tragically separated and struggle to make their way back to each other.

Cinequanon says it decided to buy the film after seeing the emotional response and interest it evoked at a June screening held in Tokyo for media and NGOs.

Kept under tight wraps while shooting in Mongolia and Korea, the film was previewed internationally by humanitarian organizations and media, and has been noted for its accurate depiction of North Korea.

Released in Korea on June 26, the film has picked up 860,000 admissions so far, according to the distributor, notably seeing audience members in their forties and fifties (a relatively rare thing in Korean cinema-going) as well as families, school classes and clubs.

Crossing has also been invited to the Dragons and Tigers competition at the Vancouver film festival which runs Sept 25 - Oct 10 this year.

The film is currently experiencing the rumblings of a copyright dispute over the origins of the script, but has yet to see any judiciary action while Vantage Holdings has its sights set on passing the one million admissions mark soon.