Spanish based production company Pontas will develop two $10m projects based on best selling novel Traces Of Sandalwood

Barcelona-based literary agency and production company Pontas is developing two English-language projects based on the best-selling novel Traces Of Sandalwood.

Anna Soler-Pont, director of Pontas and co-author of Traces Of Sandalwood with Asha Miro has decided to split the book into two separate film projects, both to be budgeted around the $10m mark.

The first will be Traces Of Sandalwood about two Indian orphan girls who are separated and then re-united 30 years later when one of them becomes a famous film star in the US, whilst the second is entitled Behind The Eucalyptus about a young Ethiopian boy who travels with thousands of other orphan kids on a big ship across to Cuba for a better life. 

Brad Pitt’s outfit Plan B saw a first draft of the script for Traces Of Sandalwood back in 2008 when it was originally intended to be one film and were very keen on the project, enthusing about the plot and characters.

“We have already had interest from some producers and are sending new scripts around before Cannes before heading to the festival to look for financing,” Soler-Pont told Screen Daily.

Respected industry figures Isabel Pons de Dalmases and Antonia Casado of newly set up Barcelona outfit Miss Marple are onboard both projects as executive producers. They are working with Pontas to find high-profile directors and cast for the projects.

Soler-Pont confirmed they already have Sarita Choudhury (Mississippi Massala, The House of the Spirits) and Clara Segura (The Sea Inside) in mind to play the adults in Traces Of Sandalwood, and Rasselas Lakew (The Athlete) and Liya Kebede as potential leads for  Behind The Eucalyptus. 

Shooting on both films is expected to take place in 2011 or 2012, with Traces Of Sandalwood to film mainly in Bombay and Barcelona, including some scenes in Los Angeles, and Eucalyptus should be shot mainly on location in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and La Habana, Cuba with some scenes in Barcelona.