According to Variety, Colombian helmer Simon Brand, whose feature debut Unknown was picked up by the Weinstein Co. and IFC Films for North America in July, is attached to helm the $3.5 million screen adaptation of Colombian bestseller Paraiso Travel, by Jorge Franco. Juan Manuel Rendon and Franco penned the screenplay.

Pic is being produced by Los Angeles-based Paraiso Pictures, which bought the rights to the novel for $100,000.

Brand honed his craft in musicvideos and commercials. He has received MTV Awards, Clio, Telly, FIAP and Grammy Award nominations and has worked with the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Juanes, Thalia, Jessica Simpson, Chayanne and Alejandro Fernandez.

Unknown, now in post, stars Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Joe Pantoliano and Jeremy Sisto.

The film version of Franco's second novel, Rosario tijeras, just opened in Colombia, where it has been doing boffo business. Franco is the biggest selling author from Colombia since Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In contrast to the magical realism of Marquez, Franco's novels deal with the gritty realities of life in Colombia. Rosario tijeras tracks a female assassin in the drug-fueled world of Medellin while Paraiso Travel concerns the struggles of Colombian immigrants in New York.

"Paraiso Pictures is on the lookout for the kind of young, fresh talent that you see in 'Maria Full of Grace' and 'Rosario tijeras,' " Pereira said.

Company is developing various Hispanic-themed projects, among them a docu on Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and Alvaro Montenegro's La Promesa de Simeon.

Paraiso Travel will shoot in Queens, N.Y., and Medellin, Colombia. Principal photography is slated for March.

Cinemark Movie Club
Evan Jacobs