Expanding Japanese production and distribution group Shochiku is to unveil new historical drama Out Of This World by leading director Sakamoto Junji.

Under the tagline 'Jazz Brings Peace', the film stars UK actor Peter Mullan and US actor Shea Whigham as American GIs who introduced jazz to Japan when the country was under US occupation at the end of WWII. They co-star with Japanese names Hagiwara Masato, Odagiri Joe and Murakami Jun.

The film, made on a budget of $2.5m, was written and directed by Sakamoto, who previously made Berlin competition film KT, San Sebastian competition title Face (Kao) and Rotterdam 2000 picture Another Battle.

Produced by Yukiko Shii at Knho, it is backed by Shochiku, Eisei Gekijo, Kadokawa-Daiei, ABC, FCB Worldwide, Sedic International.

Shochiku, which has international rights, will give the film a 150-print release in January 2004. International buyers will get their first look at Mifed.