Ten new films from mainland China will colour this autumn'sPusan International Film Festival (7-15 Oct), while its burgeoning projectmarket Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) will expand to 23 titles, from 18 last year.

"It looks set to be an exceptionally strong year forChinese films," PPP director and Pusan selector Jay Jeon told ScreenDaily.com. Jeon, who now has all but the Australian andCanadian entries to finalise, said that he also expects to show the new filmsfrom established art-house favourites Jia Jiang Ke, Hou Hsiao Hsien, WimWenders, Mike Leigh and Amos Gitai at the festival.

The PPP, which has now been shifted forward to the beginningof the festival (7-9 Oct) to avoid the clash of dates forced by Mifed's recentmove, will feature projects from a wider than ever range of countries. These include China,Thailand, Palestinian territories, India and Kazakhstan, according to PPPdeputy director Kang Sung-Kyu. Korea's Bong Joon-ho, director of Memories Of Murder,however, was the only name to be confirmed by Kang at this stage.

Underlining the speed of development of the Chineseindustry, Kang said that the average budget of the Chinese projects submittedto PPP had grown from $200,000 three years ago to $500,000 this year.

The festival is likely to have a high profile retrospectiveof Greek auteur Theo Angelopoulos, which the director will attend, and to givea 12 film panorama to German cinema. Both Wenders and Volker Schloendorff havebeen invited.

Other novelties this year include an expanded Koreanprogramme and a special sidebar of digital films that will feature morecommercially-oriented titles than Pusan is used to showing.

Both festival and PPP make cautiously optimistic noisesabout maintaining their position as Asia's pre-eminent film festival andmarket, despite the challenges posed by the new markets calendar and the launchof a film market by the Tokyo festival. "We are not trying to be a generalmarket like AFM but to be the marketplace for Asian films. PPP is unique amongproject markets in that it benefits from the attraction of the Pusanfestival," said Kang. "We are building the new PIFF Centre in Pusanand expect to have it ready in three years (2006)."

Kang said that this year's market will feature 12 Koreansales companies and 11 other Asian sellers, including Raintree Pictures, MeiAh, Festival Films, Fortissimo, Golden Network, Unijapan and the Tai FilmFederation.

Market screenings of old will this year be replaced by thePPP Screenings, at a specially-created theatre within the Paradise Hotel,showing up to 45 films from DVD or Digibeta media.