The first ever conference of international film festival directors has been scheduled during the European Film Awards (EFA) weekend in Berlin from November 29 to December 2.

The unprecedented event will see the Berlinale's Dieter Kosslick and UK film critic Derek Malcolm chair a conference entitled "Film Festivals In The Spotlight - The Future Role of Film Festivals" where Kosslick will be joined by the directors of Cannes (Thierry Fremaux), Karlovy Vary (Eva Zaoralova), Locarno (Irene Bignardi), Pusan/Korea (Dong-Ho Kim), San Sebastian (Mikel Olaciregui), Sundance/USA (Geoff Gilmore), Toronto (Piers Handling) and Venice (Alberto Barbera) as well as Stefano della Casa, president of the European Film Festivals Coordination, to discuss the future of film festivals.

In addition, the EFA will feature a focus on the next generation of European filmmakers. As part of its ongoing efforts to spotlight the talents of tomorrow, the Awards' organisers: European Film Academy (EFA) have joined forces with partners Bavaria Film International, the Fassbinder Foundation, FFA, Flmboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Kodak and UIP to stage an "Until Dawn" party on the evening of November 30th in honour of the twenty young directors who have been nominated in the categories of "European Discovery of the Year - Fassbinder Award" and "European Short Film of the Year - Prix UIP".

As the EFA's official communique observed, "the focus of the party will be on the young, up-and-coming directors themselves. The idea is that here they should have their own forum outside of the usual panel discussions to make contacts and draw attention to their films".

Other events being planned are a workshop organised by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) on the opportunities for Italian cinema in the German film market; a presentation of initial directorial efforts in "First Cuts" by established European filmmakers Agnieszka Holland (Poland), Detlev Buck (Germany), Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (Iceland) and Ken Loach (UK), who will make comments about their own works as well as those of their colleagues; and a panel discussion on German-Russian film relations.