Despite the lack of Asian films in official selection this year, producers,distributors and sales agents from the region are upping their participation atthe Cannes Market.

Market president Jerome Paillard told ScreenDaily.comthat the current overall inscription rate is up 8% over last year with morethan 10,000 participants.

Most notably, Asian involvement is up 23% on last year and will representabout 16% of the total, almost on par with US participation. China, India,Indonesia and Thailand have all increased their presence for 2006.

Paillard noted reasons for the boost: "All of those countries are reallyopening up towards international in a very strong way. For India and China it'sin terms of both acquisition and production."

Meanwhile, Latin American envoys are up 20% with Argentina and Brazilmarking the biggest jump.

The recently created Producers Network has also seen a flurry of newarrivals. Setting the limit at 500 producers, Paillard said that this was thefirst time the Market was forced to refuse applicants. "It's too early to saywhat we'll do next year but I really think it has to stay at this size," hecommented.

The Producers Network has also seen increased attendance from Asia. Adelegation of ten Japanese producers will be on hand to "reinforce theirinternational skills," according to Paillard, who says many Chinese delegates willmake the trip as well with translators in tow. "It's important to point out toWesterners that not everyone speaks English," he jokes.

The Producers Network will also benefit from a lounge, housed in the samespace as the Festival's Atelier for young filmmakers, where legal advisors willbe on hand.

Another Market initiative, the Short Film Corner, will see 900 filmsscreened, up from 600 last year.

Other interesting figures include the 3,900 films, either finished ornearly completed, that will be represented at the market with 1,400 filmsscreened. The 30 screening rooms includefour that were recently added to the Hotel Gray D'Albion near the Palais.