Project: To Die Like A Man
Scr: Joao Pedro Rodrigues
Estimated budget: $1.5m (Eu1.1m)
Funds in place: $1.2m (Eu900,000)

The plot of To Die Like A Man is inspired by the true story of a Lisbon transvestite.

A drag queen called Tonia is struggling with her straight boyfriend, Rosario, who is a heroin addict and desperate for her to have a sex-change operation - all amid increasing competition in the clubs from younger drag artists.

Portuguese director Joao Pedro Rodrigues says that, although he conducted countless interviews in preparation for the project, he does not intend to be entirely faithful to witness accounts.

'I wanted instead to mould a fictional construction of dialogue with the genre codes of musical, melodrama and tragedy,' he explains. 'The characters reveal a deep desire to be true to themselves, to achieve a balance between what they show and what they feel.'

Rodrigues trained to be an ornithologist before deciding to concentrate on film. His first short film Happy Birthday (Parabens) debuted at the Venice film festival in 1997. In 2000, he was back in competition with his debut feature O Fantasma.

In 2005, his second feature, Odete, screened in Cannes' Directors' Fortnight.
To Die Like A Man, Rodrigues' third feature, arrives in Rome from the Cinefondation's Atelier du Festival at Cannes. Producer Maria Joao Sigalho of Rosa Filmes, who worked with Rodrigues on Odete, is producing this new project.