The number of films submitted to Berlin's European Film Market (EFM) hasrisen by a third, underlining its growing importance as the first market of theyear following the AFM's move to autumn dates.

Speaking to,festival director Dieter Kosslick said that the market has seen "moredemand from all over the world, but especially from Asia and the US, and wehave new companies from Korea and from Japan."

Around a dozen new Japanese buyers are attending in 2005, including ArtistFilm, Comstock, Movie Eye Entertainment, Shochiku and Klockworx.

"Compared to 412 film submissions in 2004, we now have over 550submissions so far and over 800 screenings," Kosslick revealed.

Kosslick's words are borne out by Screen International researchwhich points to this year's EFM being the busiest on record for buyers andsellers from around the world.

Sellers from key territories such as the US, UK and France will be out inforce. "I consider Berlin to be the third market of the year after Cannes andthe AFM," said Focus Features' executive vice-president of international salesand distribution Glen Basner.

Buyers are also beating their way to the EFM in ever increasing numbers.Robert Enmark, acquisitions chief at Sweden's Svensk Filmindustri, commented:"Judging from the number of emails that I receive from the US, this will be avery hectic year."

"We are taking it much more seriously," said Will Clark, managing directorof the UK's Optimum Releasing.

See this week's Screen Internationalmagazine for further information about this year's EFM.