In what will surely be one of the biggest buzz titles out of Spain next year, auteur Alejandro Amenabar will team with star Javier Bardem in new film Out To Sea (Mar Adentro), the director's first feature foray since international hit The Others.

Sogecine will co-produce with Amenabar's own Himenoptero and Italy's Lucky Red. A budget has not yet been set but the film begins shooting this September between Galicia, Madrid and Barcelona. Sogepaq is handling international sales. Lucky Red was previously Italian distributor of Amenabar's Tesis and The Others and co-producer of his Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos).

Out To Sea is based on the life story of Ramon Sampedro, a Galicia native whose controversial decades-long struggle for the right to die after a diving accident left him paralysed became known around the world even before his anonymously-assisted, video-taped death in 1998.

Amenabar co-wrote the script with his frequent collaborator Mateo Gil. The project marks a change in register for the director of horror hits The Others, Thesis (Tesis) and Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos), the latter remade in the US as Vanilla Sky.

"I feel this film is not so much a parenthesis as the logical continuation of everything that interests me about film-making and life," the director said in a statement. "Ramon Sampedro's story has been buzzing around in my head for several years, and it was after delving deeply into his personality and experience that I decided to make it my next project."

"This is the story of those who succeed in overcoming their craving to possess everything they love; of those who are deeply free-spirited; of a man whose only God is his conscience," said Bardem, the Oscar-nominated star of Before Night Falls and award-winning local hit Mondays In The Sun (Los Lunes Al Sol). "It is a privilege to have been invited to tell this story, knowing that it will be seen through the eyes of Amenabar, a director whose integrity is as strong as his talent."

Producer Fernando Bovaira, chief of Sogecine and producer of both The Others and Open Your Eyes, added that "Alejandro has written a great story about the human condition, the inherent joy of life and our right to end it with dignity. The film will confirm Alejandro's maturity and versatility as a filmmaker."