The24th Annual American Film Market (AFM) will feature 246 marketpremieres and 379 films in 28 languages from 291 film and television companieswhen it takes place in Santa Monica from Feb 25-Mar 3.

Announcingthe line-up at a press conference yesterday, AFMA president and chief executiveofficer Jean Prewitt and executive vice president and managing directorJonathan Wolf said there would be 14% increase in company attendance over lastyear, with a record 88 first-time companies and approximately 7,000 attendees.

"Weare delighted with the strong response to this year's AFM," Prewittsaid. "This affirms that the resourceful, innovative and creativeentrepreneur represented by our membership has a commanding position in theworldwide entertainment industry."

"AFMexhibitors are the industry's true independents," Wolf added."Every key player involved in independent film will be here."

Amongtitles screening are Fortissimo Film Sales' Jim Jarmusch drama CoffeeAnd Cigarettesstarring Roberto Benigni and Iggy Pop, The Works' post-Apartheid drama CountryOf My Skullfrom John Boorman that stars Samuel L Jackson and Juliette Binoche, andSyndicate Film's comedy-drama Employee Of The Month by Mitch Rouse starringMatt Dillon and Christina Applegate.

Once again the AFM will feature the AFM Premiere Screeningsof independent titles - in this case more than 35 - as well asseminars, panel discussions and conferences covering distribution, creativeproducing, film financing and other topics.

Among the new companies in attendance will be Action Conceptfrom Germany, AV Pictures and Element X from the UK, Award Pictures, Cinevilleand Echelon Entertainment from the US, Blue Star Movies from Italy, Eleven Artsfrom Japan, Fortune Star Entertainment from Hong Kong, Giriraj Entertainmentfrom India, MMG from Belgium, No 8 Films from New Zealand, the Russian CinemaCouncil and China's ROC Government Information Office.