New kids on the film festival block such as those in Rome and Dubai have been criticised by Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick for 'buying stars with big money' and 'running through Hollywood with a cheque book.'

Speaking in an interview with the Berlin-based media journal Promedia, Kosslick observed: 'I know that everywhere like, for example, just in Rome and also recently in Dubai, stars are bought with big money to stage audience festivals. It's rumoured that Rome spent over Euro 20m for this. The trend is evidently going from the world premiere to the money premiere [Kosslick's word play on the German 'Weltpremiere' and 'Geldpremiere'] and even more bizarre high spots are reported.

'The new festival in Dubai, for example, showed 'world premiere clips' of the new film Silk. That's something you just have to let melt in your mouth: world premieres and clips. That is nothing but marketing. We naturally can't do such things.'

Kosslick stressed that he would not be jettisoning the obligations expected of a A-level festival in order to compete with competitiors 'who are provided with lots of money and are increasingly pure marketing events If one keeps on disregarding the rules, it will no longer be interesting, for example, for journalists to come to Berlin for the films if they could already been seen everywhere else,' he said.

He argued that 'the star power, which in the meantime also distinguishes the Berlinale, must remain financeable. I cannot run through Hollywood with a cheque book as some festivals are now doing' and, in a riposte to the ambitions of festivals like Pusan, Bangkok and Hong Kong to establish their own film markets, declared himself 'very confident that we have the right concept with our mixture of market, red carpet, committed cinema and support of the up-and-coming generation.'

On the question of the European Film Market's venue, Kosslick admitted to promedia that 'there is the plan to turn the whole car park of the Martin Gropius Bau into an additional market space. But that is very costly and you only do that when you have the certainty of being able to also fill this space. The market will develop, we have created the parameters and ensured that it is not the porn business sitting in the Martin Gropius Bau. There is an infrastructure which meets all needs and consequently, sellers and buyers, for example, who are sitting in the big hotels are integrated into the market.'

Speaking to Deutschlandradio in a telephone interview this week, Kosslick revealed that 19,000 foreign professionals and 4,000 journalists had already registered to attend this year's edition of the Berlinale between Feb 8-18. The festival, which attracted 1,121 films submitted just for the Competition, promises to break all records for attendance by the international film business.

The thought of a congested European Film Market (EFM) has thus prompted the market organisers to make some slight but significant changes to the conditions for the Daily Passes and Multiple Day Passes which can be purchased on-site at the EFM from Feb 7.

A limited number of Daily Passes at $78 (Euros 60) will be sold every day with the exception of the first weekend (Saturday 10 and Sunday 11), the market's traditionally busiest time. A Multiple Day Pass - for $156/Euros 120 - will be available on a first come-first serve basis for the entire duration of the EFM, with the exception that on February 10 and 11, access to the Martin Gropius Bau for these pass holders will only be granted from 16.00 onwards.

Both of these passes give the holder access to the Martin Gropius Bau (save for the aforementioned exceptions), the EFM Business Offices, but not to any EFM or festival screenings.

The possibility of restricted access to the Martin Gropius Bau for holders of festival accreditation had been announced last autumn. According to the EFM organisers, the only professional visitors who will have 'priority access' at all times to the market will be those holders of the Market Badge + Festival Accreditation and of the EFM Screening Pass.