The Berlin International Film Festival has become the first A-list festival to sign up as a member of the European Coordination of Film Festivals (ECFF), a network of over 200 festivals across Europe dedicated to the promotion and circulation of European cinema.

ECFF President Thom Palmen told Screen Daily said that the Berlinale joining the organization "is a win-win situation for both sides. We have already discussed practical forms of cooperation and I am very excited to see what will come out of this."

The ECFF was created in 1995 with a brief to develop co-operation between festivals and exchange packages of European films.In recent years, it has helped curate joint travelling programmes under subjects such as European migration as well as a European short film programme.

The ECFF is financed by a mixture of membership fees, sponsorship and grants from bodies such as European Union's MEDIA Programme. The Berlinale is ECFF's 210th member.

Last month ECFF hosted a two-day conference on the "Relations between European Film Festivals and Southern Film Festivals" which was attended by festival directors Philip Cheah (Singapore Film Festival), Trevor Taylor (Cape Town International Film Festival), Baba Hama (Fespaco), Zita Carvalhosa (Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival) and Bassek Ba Kobio (Ecrans Noirs du Cinema Francophone).

Palmen told Screen Daily that the ECFF is considering organizing packages of European films to tour festivals in Asia and Africa.