For the first time in the history of Rio de Janeiro's centuries-old carnival, a samba school has chosen a filmmaker and his life's work as its theme.

Carlos 'Caca' Diegues, best known internationally for Bye Bye Brazil, will be the inspiration for next year at the samba school of Barra da Tijuca.

Each costume will represent all of his 15 films and reflect the influences on his life's work. Diegues will ride on the last of various floats which will be inspired by his latest film, God Is Brazilian.

Rehearsals kicked off during the Rio International Film Festival (Sept 25th to Oct 9th). Samba schools all over Rio have begun their regular rehearsals in the run up to the carnival which will run from February 21st to 24th next year.

God Is Brazilian, written by Diegues, is a quirky road movie where God decides to take a holiday and goes in search for a replacement in Brazil. It competes in the upcoming Tokyo International Film Festival and has screened in Toronto and San Francisco. It is among the top ten Brazilian films this year, having attracted 1.7m admissions.

Diegues is currently writing his next project and hopes to start shooting the still untitled drama next year. "I like making a film every year and a half," he said.

While securing financing has never been easy even for veterans like him, Diegues is optimistic that conditions are ripe in Brazil for further growth. "So far Brazilian cinema has captured a 20% share this year, up from 8% in 2002."