Columbia TriStar International Television (CITT) is teaming up with Brazilian production companies Total Filmes and O2 and Italy's Mediatrade to co-produce two TV movies.

Both projects will be financed through a combination of pre-sales and tax incentive mechanisms under Brazil's Audiovisual Law. Budgets will be capped at $500,000.

The first project under the deal, Favourite Son, is scripted by Dean Hargrove, creator of the long-running Columbo TV series, with Brazil's Marcos Bernstein, who co-wrote Walter Salles' Central Station. The project is scheduled to start production in Rio de Janeiro in November. Walter Lima Jr, whose credits include The Oyster And The Wind, is tipped to direct.

Mediatrade, part of Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset, will bring an Italian actress to the project. The other cast members will be Brazilian. The film will be shot in Portuguese, with the Italian actress speaking in her native language. The final product will be dubbed into Italian while the Italian actress will be dubbed for the Portuguese version.

"We asked Total and O2 to become co-production partners because we want to work with the Brazilian creative community in television as well as film," said CITT vice president of production, Latin America, Iona de Macedo. "We want to enable this community to exploit other media besides feature films."