The Bear's Kiss, a Russian fantasy in competition at Venice, is accompanied by a massive official delegation of no less than 45 people. Given the high prices for hotels and restaurants in Venice, the hospitality bill could end up equalling a significant chunk of the $7m budget.

The film by veteran Russian director Sergei Bodrov about a man who can change into a bear is accompanied by eight members of the cast as well as its screenwriter, sales agents, and Italian and international publicists.

But a six-nation European co-production means that producers and financiers make up the bulk of the delegation. The film boasts Russian, German, Swedish, Italian, French and Spanish nationality and has additional finance from German TV and regional fund Filmstiftung NRW. 'We've brought a lot of cast here as different territories need different things,' said Fortissimo Film Sales co-chief Wouter Barendrecht. 'It is also a celebration that we managed to pull it off.'

That largesse has its parallel with the heavyweight troupe in from Paramount and UIP to accompany Kathryn Bigelow's out-of competition offering K-19 The Widowmaker. Considing that the film is not handled by UIP in Italy - it is released here by RAI's 01 Distribution - and that it disappointed on release in the US, a number of observers were surprised that Paramount Pictures chief Sherri Lansing and Jonathan Dolgen, chairman of parent Viacom Entertainment Group, were in town hosting a sumptuous 30 person dinner for the Harrison Ford-Liam Neeson vehicle.