Regent Releasing and Here Media will release their Japanese foreign language Oscar winner Departures in May, the distributor said following the picture's Academy Awards win at the weekend.

Yojiro Takita's victory marked the first time Regent and Here received an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category and the first win for Japan in this category since the category conception in 1956. Departures centres on an orchestra cellist who loses his job and goes to work in the funeral business.

It won ten Japan Prize Awards including best picture, director and actor for Masahiro Motoki and, according to Regent and Here, it also won every North American film festival it played at, including the Grand Prix Des Ameriques Prize at the 32nd Montreal World Film Festival and the audience award for best narrative at the 20th Palm Springs International Film Festival. Since it was released in Japan last September it has grossed more than $35m.

'We are honoured by the Academy Award win for Departures and salute director Yojiro Takita and Shochiku for making this beautiful film,' Regent and Here Media chairman Stephen P Jarchow and CEO Paul Colichman said. 'This film perfectly fits our mission to distribute award-winning, thought-provoking international cinema with universal humanistic appeal.'