Mexican director Luis Mandoki is returning to his native country to shoot two films back to back. Mandoki, who has directed the likes of Kevin Costner, Jennifer Lopez and Meg Ryan, will first shoot a drama based on a true story, Casa De Carton, by first time Salvadorean writer Oscar Torres.

The drama is based on Torres' experience in the mid 80s in war-torn El Salvador when he was about to turn 12 and be recruited by the government forces. His dilemma comes when he has to choose between joining the army or fight with opposition guerillas.

Casa De Carton producers include Lawrence Bender and his company A Band Apart; Mexico's Altavista, Alejandro Soberon, the head of Altavista parent company CIE and Luis Mandoki. Fernando Gonzalez Compean, former director general of Altavista and partner Miguel Necoechea of newly founded Corona Films, will executive produce.

Mandoki has looked at over 1,500 prospects for the principal cast of eight 11 to 12 year old boys, including the lead. Principal photography is slated to start the end of October.

His next project will be another drama, Amapola, co produced by Altavista, Puerto Rican company Muvi Films, Ivania Films and possibly a US partner. It also has some equity support from the Fidecine film fund managed by the Mexican Film Institute, Imcine. Gonzalez Compean and Necoechea will serve as producers.

Amapola is set at the start of the drug trade in Mexico. In the process of investigating a case a drug enforcement agent unearths some hard truths about his Mexican father. Vicente Lenero, who wrote Mexico's all time blockbuster El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, has written the screenplay. Shooting is scheduled to begin in late February.

Both projects have been developed by Gonzalez Compean and Necoechea who have formed Corona Films in a bid to produce select projects for both Mexican and international markets.