Amalia Rodrigues gets her own movie

Portugese fado-singing mega-star in shingle's first

CANNES -- Portuguese fado-singing mega-star Amalia Rodrigues will be the subject of the first feature film from VC Filmes, "Amalia," to be directed by Carlos Coelho da Silva.

Rodrigues, who died nine years ago at the age of 79, is the most popular singer in the history of Portugal, and at her peak between the late 1950s to mid-1970s she was known across Europe and in the U.S. She will be portrayed in the film by 29-year-old stage actress Sandra Barata Belo.

FICA, the Portuguese cinema and television fund, is the majority investor in the project. VC Filmes said the film -- which is being made with a 3 million euros ($4.6 million) budget, large by Portuguese standards -- will be its launch into the feature film industry, where it hopes to make two significant films per year.

The film will follow Rodrigues' life from her poverty-stricken youth in the 1920s to her transformation into a national treasure as a singer of fado music and then to a tragic later life. The film should be completed by the end of this year, and available for distribution in early 2009.