Cecilia Amado, the granddaughter of the late Brazilian author Jorge Amado, will direct the big-screen adaptation of his Captains Of The Sands.

Since its publication in 1937, the book has been published in 16 languages and has sold more than 5 million copies. 'The novel has as a new relevance today,'' Cecilia Amado says. 'The violence is not so explicit but the story reveals a masked violence generated by s ocial inequality.''

The $4m production will start shooting in October in Bahia. The story follows a group of orphans and abandoned children in Salvador. The kids are thieves but remain, above all, children at heart. In one of the most emblematic passages, the 'captains'' take over a battered carousel.

Captains of the Sands will be a co-production between Brazil, France and Portugal - the foreign partners are yet to be announced. 'The last adaptation of an Amado book to the screen, Tieta do Agreste, generated $1 million in international sales in 1996,' says Bruno Stroppiana, the producer of Sky Light Cinema, the local company responsible for Tieta and Captains.

At this stage the cast is being chosen among 90 homeless kids helped by n on-governmental organisations in Salvador. 'My only concern is to be faithful to my grandfather's humanist look,'' says Cecilia Amado. She makes her directorial debut after writing the screenplay with Hilton Lacerda (Arido Movie). Previously she worked as an assistant director in Brazilian TV, working on projects including City of Men.

Amado died in 2001 at age 88. His most famous novel, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands was made into a movie in 1975, becoming the most successful Brazilian film of all time at the local box office, with 10.7m tickets sold.