Brazil has launched a dedicated film commission to capitalise on a weakened local currency and attract large-scale overseas productions such as The Mission, one of the few high-profile features to shoot in Latin America's largest country.

With the real down to nearly two to a US dollar, the Rio de Janeiro-based operation will steer overseas film companies to the Brazilian production outfits that would best fit their project. Hiring a local production company is a stipulation of shooting in Brazil.

The commission, which launches in August, will also offer training courses for personnel at bodies such as tourism boards who may have to work with foreign productions. Presided over by Glaucia Bahiana Soares, it will guide on legal procedures, local facilities, airlines and hotels, plus supply a database of production companies. Key local information will be available via a website -

Until now, the few foreign productions to shoot in Brazil such as Wild Orchid and At Play In The Fields Of The Lord have had no dedicated film commission except for the Bureau de Cinema e Video at the northeastern province of Ceara. The new body is sponsored by the Rio de Janeiro municipality and organized by CIMA, which also runs October's Festival do Rio.

Andrea Boross Queiroga in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report