Hot Italian director Marco Tullio Giordana, whose last film, The Best of Youth, won Un Certain Regard last year and has swept all the Italian awards, is currently preparing his next film.

A drama named Quando Sei Nato (literally, When You Were Born), it is inspired by Rudyard Kipling's classic adventure novel, Captain Courageous.

Produced by Rome outfit Cattleya, When You Were Born has a budget of Euros 4-5m and is set to shoot in Italy and on the Red Sea in September 2004. Kipling's original novel tells the tale of a good-humoured, hard-working Gloucester fisherman who rescues a spoiled rich boy when he falls off a passing steamship.

Like The Best of Youth, When You Were Born will be penned by Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, the veteran TV writers who have lately become Italy's hottest writing duo.

The picture will be backed by Italy's Rai Cinema, and Cattleya is currently also in talks with a French co-producer.

Earlier this month, The Best of Youth won seven critics' Nastri d'Argento awards and six industry David di Donatello awards. Miramax is now preparing to release the film in the US and the UK.

Meanwhile, writers Petraglia and Rulli have also teamed up with Cattleya to write another feature film, entitled Romanzo Criminale, which was originally due to be directed by Giordana but will now be helmed by actor-director Michele Placido.

The Euros 7.5m film, which is adapted from Giancarlo De Cataldo's novel Romanzo Criminale, tells the story of a gang of criminals who terrorised Rome in the late 1970s and 80s. The film, described as an "Italian Goodfellas", will shoot in Rome in October. It is planned as an Italian-French-Spanish co-production.

Placido's last two films, A Voyage Called Love and the upcoming picture Ovunque Sei, with Stefano Accorsi, were both produced by Cattleya.

Cattleya, which was founded in 1999 by former Medusa producers Riccardo Tozzi, Marco Chimenz and Giovanni Stabilini, is also the production outfit behind Sergio Castellitto's Penelope Cruz vehicle Don't Move, which is set to screen at next month's Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard.