Jere Hausfater's worldwide sales, development and production company Essential Entertainment will introduce Cannes buyers to the drug drama Queen Of The South starring Eva Mendes, Ben Kingsley and Josh Hartnett.

Essential is handling international sales on the film which is based on the novel by Arturo Perez-Reverte and will be directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz (Secuestro Express).

The true-lifestory centres on the exploits of a Mexican woman who flees to Spain and becomes a drug baroness intent on avenging her dealer boyfriend's death.

Elizabeth Avellan and Sandra Condito will produce through Tres Malandros and Jean-Luc De Fanti will serve as executive producer alongside Plural's Daniel Cebrian at Plural Entertainment and Antonio Cardenal at Origen PC and Sergio Aguero. Winchester Capital has come on board to provide financing in conjunction with Origen PC and Plural Entertainment.

'This project has been a labour of love for all of us involved, and we are delighted to have Essential and Winchester as partners, along with a talented and sexy cast that will thrill fans of Arturo's novel,' Avellan said.

Mendes, who will next be seen in Diane English's The Women, is represented by CAA and Management 360. Hartnett, who recently wrapped production on George Ratliff's football drama Endzone, is represented by CAA. Kingsley will next be seen in SPC's The Wackness and is also represented by CAA.