It's official: Berlin's European Film Market (EFM) will have a newvenue for 2006 at the Renaissance-style Martin Gropius Building, just fiveminutes from Potsdamer Platz. The market will be held inside the cramped Debis building forthe last time in 2005.

The Martin Gropius Building has hosted several internationalexhibitions in the past - most recently, the 3rd Berlin Biennial forContemporary Arts - and has 4,900 square metres of exhibition space at itsdisposal. Together with the Berlinale, it is one of the divisions of theKulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin (KBB) arts organisation.

According to an initial EFM presentation, the new venue's featureswill include an open lounge and service area in the Central Hall; the option ofmarket stands or suites; conference units for privacy in the middle of themarket hustle-and-bustle; an "open office" with fax and Internetfacilities; several mini-cinemas for video screenings which can be rented"on the spot"; and a 200-seat cinema in the basement lounge area.

Built in 1881, the Martin Gropius Building's location is closelylinked with recent German history since part of the original Berlin Wall runsalong the Niederkirchnerstrasse just a few metres away. In addition, the landdirectly to the east of the building was the location for the administrativecentre of the Nazi Secret State Police Office, Reichsführer-SS HeinrichHimmler, his personal staff and additional prominent SS agencies under theThird Reich.