The first Asian Film Marketwrapped today after a four-day run (Oct 15-18), concurrent to the 11thedition of the Pusan International Film Festival. The event was held mainly inthe Grand Hotel on Haeundae beach, with a total of 3,500 participants.

The sales market was joinedby locations, production and post-production convention BIFCOM, and the co-productionmarket Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), in hosting 562 companies from 40 countries.

Although traffic thinned outafter the first two days, the market was well attended and provided anopportunity for Asian buyers and sellers to catch up on new product following afive-month gap since Cannes.

Overseas buyers also foundthe market useful. "I found it very productive because everybody in the Asianfilm business that you need to see is here," said Jason Resnick, FocusFeatures' senior vice president of acquisitions. He added that Pusan keeps improving each year and that it would beworthwhile to come back next year.

However, few big deals wereconcluded at the market, with people preferring to hold off until the AmericanFilm Market, and there were some logistics and organisational glitches.

Market screenings were heldin the Primus multiplex, and although shuttles ran every five minutes, buyersstill found the 15 minute ride from the Grand Hotel an inconvenience. As aresult, many market screenings were poorly attended.

Market director ParkKwang-su also spoke of the need to iron out small problems that aroseunexpectedly in the first year, such as severe traffic congestion at the threemain lifts to the market's sales and meeting venues on the 17th to 22nd floors,and malfunctions of the market screening swipe cards.

Park also said the marketwould attempt to attract more US and European companies next year. It seems likelythat the market will continue to lure the Asian industry and Western buyers -particularly those interested in Asian product - but there are several Asianmarkets competing for the travel budgets of Western sellers.

The UK Film Council had alarge presence at the market, bringing seven companies, but Unifrance haddecided to focus on Rome instead. However, Park said the French promotionalbody had expressed interest in opening an office at next year's market.

Indeed, some participantsfelt that Pusan was shaping up to be the most useful Asian marketfor European sales companies. "Although it seems like a market for Asianproduct, this is actually a market for Asian buyers - all the Asiandistributors are here," said San Fu Maltha, who was acquiring product for Indonesia's Queen Films.

European sales companies saidthey welcomed the chance to meet new Asian buyers: "There are a lot of Koreanand Japanese buyers here and it's been useful to spend a bit more time buildingup a relationship with them - which is important when you're doing business in Asia," said James Scott of UK sales company Odyssey Entertainment. "It's difficultto do this at the AFM and Cannes."

But others were lessimpressed with the expanded market and festival's organisation. Arclight Films' Gary Hamilton said hewould reconsider booking a sales office at the market if his company didn'thave any films in the festival: "There were ticketing problems. We had ZhangJiarui's The Road in PIFF and they blockedus from entering the festival screening, even though we were with thedirector."

The inaugural talentshowcase Star Summit Asia was well received as it offered a chance forproducers and distributors to become more familiar with Asian talent and starsystems.

"Management companies in Asia are different from elsewhere in the world in that they actually producefilms and TV programmes themselves. They're very powerful and you can't speakabout international co-production without actors," said Park, explaining whythe market had decided to hold the Star Summit.

"Some Chinese productions gothe co-production route simply to get a Korean actor onboard. We're thinking ofexpanding the talent and co-productions market next year as the PPP selectiondoes have its own direction to itself."

BIFCOM this year welcomedover 2,500 visitors and 67 exhibitors from 16 countries held a total of 450meetings. Audiences flocked to the industry presentations of ARRI, Thomson,Sony and Panasonic's digital cinematographic cameras and digital post-productionseminars, as well as at the presentations of Korean, Chinese, Japanese and USdigital cinema business models.

The Asian Film Market alsosaw a raft of launch and line-up promotion parties and presentations, rangingfrom the high-energy Showbox night club-themed party and management companyNamoo Actors' trendy hip-hop party, to the presentation of Korea-Hong Kongco-production Three Kingdoms -Resurrection Of The Dragon, with Andy Lau and Maggie Q (MI:3) gracing the stage.