Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles has unveiled further details of the follow up to his worldwide box office and festival sensation City Of God, following the film's premiere in Argentina as the opening film of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival.
His new project, Intolerance - which he jokingly describes as a sequel to the DW Griffith classic - is a drama-comedy about globalisation and the relationship between the northern and southern hemispheres.
It will be set in six different countries - the Arab Emirates, Kenya, China, the US (New York), the Philippines (Manila), and Brazil - and will have five separate storylines, all of which interconnect by the end of the film.
Meirelles will round up much of the creative talent behind City Of God for the new $10m-$12m feature, including screenwriter Braulio Mantovani, director of photography Cesar Charlone and editor Daniel Rezende, and intends to finance it himself through his production outfit 02 Filmes.
Although Meirelles says Wild Bunch did an "amazing job" selling City Of God to more than 60 territories, with over 50 sold at last year's Cannes alone, he plans to arrange pre-sales for most major territories through his own company.
Miramax, which distributed City Of God in North and South America, has first option but if they pass Meirelles plans to sell direct to distributors in the major territories. He cites Pedro Almodovar's company El Deseo as an inspiration in this respect, as they have "succeeded in making goods films by maintaining creative control", he says. He plans to appoint a sales agent for minor territories.
Meirelles hopes to once again have award-winning director-screenwriter Alexander Payne advise Mantovani on the script, with the first draft to be completed in November, principal photography to start in 2004 and the film to be ready in 2005.
Payne, who was Oscar nominated for Election and won the Golden Globe with About Schmidt, worked as a script consultant on City Of God as part of the Sundance Screenwriters' Lab programme.
City Of God has been feted worldwide since its sensational launch at Cannes, with invitations to several leading festivals, including Rotterdam, Toronto, London, Tokyo, San Sebastian, Havana and Stockholm. It has also scored impressive box office grosses in many territories, including over $4m in the UK.
Although it picked up European Film Academy, Golden Globe and Bafta nominations, the film's awards campaign came to an abrupt halt when it failed to grab a nomination in the foreign language category for the Oscars.