Costa Films has sealed a co-production deal with Mexico's Argos Comunicacion, Colombia's Caracol TV and a Spanish company to be announced, to adapt Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez's epic novel Noticias De Un Secuestro (News of a Kidnapping) for the big screen.

Mexican film-maker Pedro Pablo Ybarra will direct the $5m movie and is aiming for a mid-2009 start date, from a script by Argentina's Aida Bortnik (The Official Story).

'We are supervising the script and contacting Spanish companies like Plural Entertainment, Grupo Prisa and Filmax,' explains Costa's Costantini Jr.

'Cadena Caracol will be in charge of the filming in Colombia, while Argos Cine will handle the shooting in Mexico,' he added.

The novel depicts the kidnapping and eventual release of prominent figures in Marquez's native Colombia by drug lord Pablo Escobar's infamous Medellin cartel in the early 1990s.

Costa Films co-produced Brazilian Jose Padilha's Berlinale Golden Bear winner Elite Squad, and is currently involved in Padilha's new English-spoken project set in Latin American locations.

Costantini also co-produced Mexican Guillermo Arriaga's first directing effort The Burning Plain, which premiered at this year's Venice official competition. 'We are closing a distribution deal to release the film in the US on the second trimester of 2009 and we are very pleased the movie has been sold to key markets such as France, Italy, Spain and Japan,' said Constantini.

Costantini's next local project will be Verano Maldito (Damn Summer), Luis Ortega's third feature to be shot in 2009 in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro from a short story by the late Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.