Berlin's European Film Market (EFM) is boasting a 30%year-on-year increase in bookings for 2006 with nearly 200 companies signed up forthe upgraded Martin-Gropius-Bau facilities.

They will have a choice of more than 600 screening slots innew or improved facilities. The surge in bookings follows AFM's move toNovember, leaving the February market slot free for the Berlinale.

High-profilecompanies have for the first time signed up for individual stands, said EFMhead Beki Probst. Companies set to attend this year include Lakeshore, FocusFeatures, Capitol Films, Pathe, Gaumont, TFI, UGC and Kinowelt.

Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said he believed thatdemand was being met and that further capacity could be found for companies yetto sign up.

"The most important thing is for companies to feelcomfortable in a good market atmosphere," he said.

The historic Martin-Gropius-Bau is a 10-minute walk awayfrom the festival's Palast nexus. Now fully restored to its late 19th CenturyRenaissance glory, the Martin Gropius stands beside the last remaining fragmentof the Berlin Wall and is directly opposite Berlin's House of Representatives,where the European Co-Production Market takes place.