Brazilian director Karim Ainouz, now based mostly in Berlin, is gearing up for a February 27 start of shoot for his next drama Praia Do Futuro.

The story is about a Brazilian lifeguard (working at the Praia Do Futuro, or “beach of the future”) who saves a German tourist from drowning. The two men begin a relationship and move to Berlin, creating a rift with the lifeguard’s younger brother back in Brazil.

The cast will be Clemens Schick (Casino Royale) as the German tourist, Wagner Moura (The Elite Squad) as the lifeguard, and Jesuita Barbosa (Tatuagem) as the 18-year-old brother.

“It’s a project I’ve been developing for a while,” Ainouz tells Screen. “It’s reflecting a bit about Berlin, it’s a city divided, about walls coming down, people coming back together.”

He will shoot close to his hometown in Fortaleza, Brazil, which he says is a place “is full of personal memories.”

It also marks the first feature he will shoot in his new hometown of Berlin. “Sometimes its shot from a foreign standpoint, sometimes its from a local standpoint,” he adds.

Ainouz, who made an international splash with his debut feature Madame Sata in 2002, most recently directed The Silver Cliff, which played in Cannes Directors Fortnight in 2011.

“My past few films have been about female protagonists, and this diving into that world of masculinity,” he says of Praia Do Futuro. “It’s about people who travel and take risks.”

The cast has been in Berlin for about two weeks rehearsing here, after doing a week’s rehearsals in Brazil in January. “I proposed to them there would be a long rehearsal period, I really wanted to have affection in this film.”

The German producer is Hank Levine, well versed in the Brazilian film world after working at O2 Filmes from 2002-2009 (his credits include City of God). He is working alongside Brazilian producer Georgia Costa Araujo of Coracao da Selva, she has known Ainouz since working on his first short film in the 1990s. Christopher Zitterbart of Germany’s watchmen productions is co-producing.

Costa Araujo says: “There is the right mix of Brazilian and German crew, combining their two different working styles.”

The 2.6m Euro budget is financed mostly out of Brazil, both public funding and private investment , and the production will also apply for German funding from Hamburg and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

German distributor will be Real Fictions based in Cologne, and the Brazilian distributor will be California. HBO Latin America is on board for pay TV rights there.

The film could be the first official co-production between Brazil in Germany (ironically Levine helped write that treaty back in 1999.)

“It’s a true co-production. The story itself needs both places,” Costa Araujo adds.

There are ongoing discussions with sales companies. Levine says: “We are confident the project has strong market potential.”