Mexican docu-fiction Digna Oaxa is the first film to have been selected for inclusion in next year's Berlin festival (5-15 February 2004).

Festival director Dieter Kosslick said that he will include the film in the official line-up, though precise placement remains currently undetermined. Kosslick said that he has also already made firm offers to three European independent films for inclusion in the main competition section. Competition usually includes approximately 20 titles.

Kosslick joked "My ideal would be to have Berlin ready by Venice. Then I could take six months off." In reality, the selection process is likely to go on until the Jan 15 deadline.

The Mexican film, directed by Filipe Casal, charts the last hours in the life of a human rights lawyer who acted on behalf of people who went missing after protests about the forestry industry. She herself became a victim and the Mexican government then tried to cover up her killing with an absurd animated film.

Kosslick, speaking in Venice, said that the competition could open its doors to this or other documentaries. In previous Berlin festivals they have mostly appeared in the Panorama and Forum sidebars.

The festival is set to expand on its large-scale education programme "Talent Campus" and will complement this with a projects market for films that emerge from the campus. It will also hatch a new section, in parallel to the existing Kinderfest, that delivers half a dozen films for youth audiences. Another new element at the next Berlinale will be a growing emphasis on music.