Philippe Barcinski's first feature film Not By Chance a story of two control-obsessed men, opens the 2nd BRAFFT - Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto this week at the Bloor Cinema.

Fifteen films will be screened during the four-day event (Nov 6-9), launched last year to increase the visibility of Brazilian cinema in Canada and to create 'networking' opportunities to encourage co-productions between both countries.

This year's programme covers animation shorts, fiction features and documentaries, such as Jose Carlos Asbeg's 1958 - The Year The World Discovered Brazil, that goes back to World Cup victory that put the nation on the soccer map.

In the fiction department, the highlights are Lina Chamie's The Milky Way, an odyssey of a desperate man who drives across the city of Sao Paulo to make up with his girlfriend, and Mauro Lima's box office hit My Name Ain't Johnny. The drama about a playboy from Rio who became the biggest drugdealer in the 80s and 90s is the most successful Brazilian film of the year, with 2.1m tickets sold in the country.

The selection also includes Paulo Thiago's The Children's Orchestra, that will have a simultaneous premiere in Brazil and Canada, on the 7th. It is a story of a bunch of poor kids who stop work in the plantations to play Mozart and Bach.

'The signing of an audiovisual cooperation agreement between Brazil and Canada in March 2006, motivated me to launch the festival'', says Barbara de la Fuente, one of the organizers of BRAFFT. 'The support of the public institutions helped to create more business opportunities.''

Thanks to the agreement, signed by the Audiovisual Secretariat of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and the National Film Board of Canada, the number of co-production projects is increasing. 'Brazil and Canada had already signed a co-production agreement, in 1995, but the cooperation programme renewed the intention of cultural exchange, highlighting its advantages,'' says Andre Sturm, president of the Programa Cinema do Brasil, an association between Sao Paulo's film industry union and the Brazilian Export Promotion Agency (Apex).

Films made under a co-production agreement can be qualified as a national film in both countries, being eligible for the incentive laws benefits in both territories.

'Adding both sides, it allows us to work with much bigger budgets'', says the Brazilian producer Ivan Teixeira, who runs Ginga Eleven Filmes in Sao Paulo, with his partner, Hank Levine.

Ginga is currently developing five projects with Canada: Jon Cassar's Sea Witches, with Shaftesbury Films; Ken Finkleman's Assassination On Embassy Row, with 100% Film and TV; Mika Kaurismaki's Kristina with Triptychmedia; Hank Levine's documentary Refugee Diaries, also with Triptychmedia; and Peter Greenaway's The Pelican Company, with Screen Siren.