The fourth Bangkok Film Market quietly came to a close today (Wednesday) in much the same manner as it opened softly two days ago.

As in past years, the market is still plagued by the poor attendance of buyers. The situation has worsened this year when no free flights were given to buyers due to budget cuts.

'Some buyers are not even aware the market is on after it was cancelled in January. The market, which has seen better days, certainly needs more promotion and publicity,' says Gilbert Lim of leading Thai producer Sahamongkolfilm.

The Federation of National Film Association was assigned by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as organisers of this year's event.

The number of foreign sellers also went down significantly despite the strong presence of the major Thai producers. as well as post-production houses and production services coordinators.

'It was good to have all the Thai companies here, but it's equally important to balance with international companies,' says Yvonne Tan, distribution manager of Malaysian exhibitor Golden Screen Cinemas. She was one of the handful of Asian buyers who attended the market.

Independent Thai filmmaker Tom Waller of De Warrenne Pictures was given a free booth at the market. 'Thai films are mostly self-financed with little financial support from the government. The money being spent on the event should be better spent on supporting and nurturing the local industry,' he says.

While no major deals were announced during the market, Vietnamese producer Jimmy Pham said in a press conference the day before the market that The Weinstein Company has picked up the DVD rights for six major English-speaking territories to The Rebel.

The $3m picture, currently playing in the Bangkok International Film Festival, is a period action drama set in the 1920s when Vietnam was under colonial French rule. The director is Charlie Nguyen and his brother Johnny plays the lead role.

(Stephen Cremin contributed to this report.)