Two Brazilian brothers have secured $1m investment from LucBesson's studio EuropaCorp for the European company's firstco-production in Latin America. The deal was announced at the Rio InternationalFilm Festival.

The deal with Erik and Christian de Castro is for adrugs-based thriller called Federal whichwas written by Erik, aged 33, and is being produced by Christian, aged 35. Itwill be directed by Erik, in his first attempt at feature-length fiction afterthe well-received documentary Senta A Pua!

Besson's partner Pierre-Ange Le Pogam flew to Rio tosign the contract with the de Castros production company BSB Cinema last week.He said: "It fits exactly the kind of projects EuropaCorp is looking foras it takes its production activity beyond its roots in France andEurope."

Erik de Castro first presented the script at a SundanceScreenwriter Lab in Brazil in 2001. The film is set in Brasilia, Brazil'smodernistic capital city, and aims to be a contemporary crime thriller thatalso probes Brazilian society and culture.

Federal's totalbudget will be $2 million, which will make it one of the most expensiveBrazilian films ever made. Other investors include Lumiere distributors andRioFilmes.

The film will be shot in mid-2005 and has a local castincluding Selton Mello, star of last years's highgrossing Lisbela and The Prisoner. Before EuropaCorp's involvement - whichhas delayed filming by a year - Forrest Whittaker was in negotiations totake one of the international roles.

EuropaCorp is one of the biggest "mini-studios"in Europe and has a turnover of US$ 100m.