The newly appointed US programmers responsible for stagingnext year's Bangkok International Film Festival are to introduce aninternational film market to run alongside the Thai festival.

Former Palm Springs International Film Festival executives CraigPrater and Jennifer Stark have been named executive director and director ofprogramming, respectively, for the event which runs from Jan 22-Feb 2.

Around 150 festival films are expected to screen in Bangkok - upfrom 100 in 2003 - accompanied by special events, panel discussions, acompetition in nine categories and the second annual Golden Kinnaree Award forexcellence in international filmmaking.

In addition to the film market, there will also be an inauguralCinematographers Day. Dates and further details will be announced in duecourse.

"This year's festival should be very exciting with the increasingnumber of entries from around the world as well as a nascent film market whichtakes advantage of Bangkok's potential to be a central marketplace in Asia,"said Prater.

Prater most recently served as director of the InternationalFestival of festivals and is the former executive director at Palm Springs.

Stark served a director of programming at Palm Springs for boththe Short Festival in August and the Feature Festival in January.

She heads up a team of veteran programmers comprising AlissaSimon, Ian Birnie, Leonardo Garcia Tsao, David Kaminsky and Therese Hayes.

Festival programmes will be announced in due course but among theexpected components will be an emphasis on international titles, Thai shorts,documentaries and a focus on cinema from the 10 members countries of theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

For the secondconsecutive year, the festival is to be sponsored by the Tourism Authority ofThailand in cooperation with the Thai Film Federation.