Columbia TriStar Brazil has boarded the next film by Andrucha Waddington, director of international hit Me, You, Them (Eu, Tu, Eles). Budgeted at $3.5m, high for Brazilian standards, the drama, titled The House Of Sand, will be co-produced by Me, You, Them production house Conspiracao and prominent Brazilian producer Luiz Carlos Barreto. Columbia TriStar has also advanced financing for the script development. The story of a woman who lives in isolation and sees the passage of a century through her visitors, is based on an original idea by Barreto, who produced Dona Flor And Her Two Husbands, among other Brazilian classics.

Actress Fernanda Montenegro, Oscar-nominated for her performance in Walter Salles' Central Station in 1999, will play the woman in her old age and her real-life daughter Fernanda Torres will play the younger version in the drama. Torres won the best actress award in Cannes 1986 for her work in Arnaldo Jabor's I Know I Will Love You.

Waddington aims to shoot House Of Sand by the second half of next year in the remote northeastern Brazil province of Ceara.

Waddington's other pending project, Two Women And A Dead Body, is based on a stage play by Patricia Melo and will feature Torres along with Debora Bloch. This will probably begin principal photography in Sao Paolo by the end of this year, according to the 31-year-old filmmaker. Waddington, Torres and Daniela Thomas, co-director of Walter Salles' Foreign Land, wrote the $1.5m dark urban comedy.

Me, You Them, which was Brazil's submission for the Foreign Language Academy Award, has been released in the US by Sony Pictures Classics and also in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and France. Distribution deals are still pending in Spain, Italy and the UK, said Conspiracao Filmes head Leonardo Barros.