On the eve of this year's Berlinale, festival director Dieter Kosslick has suggested that the festival expand further to meet the growing demand for tickets from the general public in addition to the professional visitors.

Speaking to Deutschlandradio Kultur at the weekend, Kosslick said: 'The Berlinale must become bigger because the run is enormous (...) We must give the people more possibilities to get tickets. These possibilities are becoming ever fewer because the film market has grown so much and will probably double this year. These people naturally also all want to have tickets.

'Therefore, we have to create new opportunities because the Berlinale is an audience festival. And if we forget that, then the Berlinale is at an end.'

While festivals like Cannes or Venice are purely professional events, Kosslick pointed out that Berlin was an event which was also frequented by 'the granny from Steglitz [a district of Berlin]' in addition to the thousands of accredited professionals.

At last year's festival, 418,000 admissions were registered for the 880 public screenings, of which 186,000 were for paying members of the public. This year will see the number of accredited festival guests approach the 19,000 mark, up from 2006's 18,281.

Kosslick had already addressed the ticket issue at his second Berlinale in 2003 when a Berlinale Cinema Day (Berlinale Kinotag) was introduced on the Sunday after the Saturday evening awards ceremony to show a selection of films from all of the sections at a specially reduced price.

This year, the Cinema Day on February 18 has screenings of around 75 films - a fifth of this year's total of 373 titles - at a standard admission price of $7.80 (Euros 6.)

Among the films screening are the Competition titles Goodbye Bafana, Irina Palm, Hallam Foe; the Panorama's Teeth, 2 Days In Paris, and The Bubble; the Forum's Armin, Brand Upon The Brain, and Madonnas; and Generation's Razzle Dazzle, Lotte From Gadgetville and Sweet Mud.

Moreover, this year, a new festival venue has been introduced with the hiring of three screens at the CineStar Cubix multiplex at Alexanderplatz to show repeat performances of 100 films from the Panorama, Forum, Generation and Berlinale Special sections, including The Lark Farm, Fay Grim, Elvis Pelvis and The Tracey Fragments

While the repeat screenings at the Cubix will hopefully reduce the pressure on tickets, the Berlinale's programmers nevertheless have to ensure that they do not break the regulations of the Paris-based International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) which allow films screening at the Berlinale to be shown up to a five times only .

Some films such as Irina Palm, Goodbye Bafana, A Casa De Alice or Woman On The Beach are already scheduled on five occasions for the public, but there would generally be scope for the festival's programmers to increase the number of slots since most films are currently screened only three or four times.