ThreeBrazilian production outfits - Total Filmes, Buriti Filmes and Boca a Boca -have sealed a co-production deal with Gloria Films of France and Fado Filmes ofPortugal to produce music documentary Os Guardioes Do Samba (Guardians OfSamba).

Thedeal was signed during the Rio Film Festival which ends on Friday with a galascreening of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain.

Thefilm will be directed by La's Bodanzky and written by Luiz Bolognesi - thecouple behind the acclaimed film O Bicho De Sete Cabecas (Brain Storm), winner of Golden India Catalina Award at CartagenaFilm Festival, as well as the top awards at Bras'lia and Recife Film Festivalsin 2001.

OsGuardioes do Samba (Guardians of Samba) will examine the history of Brazilian popular samba music, whilerevealing the old masters and their struggle to preserve the pure samba. Thefilm will feature Dona Ivone Lara, Walter Alfaiate, Nelson Sargento, Monarco daPortela, Xang' and Tia Surica, who are legendary figures and members of the oldguard of the most prestigious samba schools in Rio (Mangueira, Portela, ImperioSerrano and Salgueiro).

Theproject, which starts production next week, has already been compared to BuenaVista Social Club, whichreinvigorated Cuban music on a global level.

OsGuardioes do Samba is the firstco-production deal generated during Rio Screenings & Seminars, the businessside of the Rio festival. This year more than 900 film and TV producers anddistributors attended the event, considered the largest industry gathering inLatin America.

Total Filmes has alreadyproduced several Brazilian features, such as Navalha Na Carne, Sexo, Amor E Traicao and Mais Uma Vez Amor. Gloria Films built its reputation producingdocumentaries, including Mutum, which is being directed by Sandra Kogut. FadoFilmes co-produced the documentary Tudo Isto E Fado, with Walter Salles' Video Filmes.

Os Guardioes do Samba will be the first film production from Boca a Boca,a cultural publishing company. Buriti Filmes was the company behind Bicho DeSete Cabecas, the true story of amiddle class teenager sent to a mental institution for smoking marijuana.