Portuguese private broadcaster SIC (Sociedad Independente de Comunicao) has unveiled the next five titles on its second-year slate of made-for-TV movies from production division SIC Filmes.

The titles include: The Secret, a melodrama from director Leandro Ferreira; Dear Mother, a comedy about three sons dodging responsibility for their elderly mother, from director Jose Sacramento; Later On, a drama from Fatima Ribeiro ; The Pythagorean Theorem, a romantic comedy from Goncalo Teles; and Unforgettable Night, to which a director has yet to be attached.

The SIC Filmes factory has also employed two full-time script writers to work exclusively on the TV movies. The first title on the new slate, Tiago Guedes' coming-of-age tale Sweet Water was broadcast in January to a 43% market share. SIC will broadcast a film almost every month this year.

In 2000, SIC's first annual slate of 10 films came close to doubling feature film production in Portugal for the year, where 14 films were made for theatrical release. SIC Filmes, a joint venture between SIC and the national cinema institute ICAM, was launched in 1999.

With an average budget of Euros399,000-449,000 (Esc80-90m), a little less than half the average feature film budget in Portugal, the made-for-TV movies incorporate both new and veteran writing, directing and acting talent. They also provide steady, year-long work for technical crews in an otherwise intermittent production sector.

A notable and innovative characteristic of the joint-venture project is the involvement of corporate sponsors. Private investment in film is practically non-existent in Portugal, but SIC has secured backing from at least one corporate sponsor for each of its films. Some of these sponsors include telecoms outfit Oni, oil & gas company Galp, beverage outfit Unicer and former fairground complex Expo Park.

Local sales outfit NBP handles international sales on all of SIC Filmes' TV movies.