2008 was a year that began with some expectancy of recovery after what had been something of a grind the previous year.

But the US independent market was in no state to make the big leaps forward.

What's more, despite signs ofhope at Berlin, the markets were soon overtaken by economic events.

An economic downturn exposed weaknesses in the market infrastucture and as recession set in, it became clear that 2009 will be a very serious challenge.

SUNDANCE: 'There's no question people were cautious and were being more cautious than ever about the marketing of the film.'

ROTTERDAM CINEMART: 'For sales agents who delved through the titles on offer, there were riches to be unearthed.'

BERLIN EFM: 'The festival line-up was in danger of being upstaged by the market.'

HONG KONG FILMART: 'Sellers of foreign-language films have a hard time. 'It's tough. Prices for sales to Japan, for example, are going down and deals are more difficult to do.'

CANNES: 'The market eased itself into a familiar pattern - solid but hardly spectacular with little in the way of a big splash.'

TORONTO: 'The US independent distribution arena is in a rotten state and, as Sundance in January indicated, buyers are happy not to engage in furious bidding wars for a film that might be a challenge to distribute.'

PUSAN: 'Everybody says it, everybody knows it: the autumn festival circuit, which bows out with Rome and London this week, is too crammed.'

AFM: 'Film buyers are not easily impressed. They like to bemoan the lack of inspiring new product at markets. Their plaintive cries have been particularly loud this year '