Hot sellers included Nader and Simin: A Separation, Tomboy and documentary Khodorkovsky.

“This year was our most successful market for arthouse cinema in the festival’s history,” Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said about this year’s European Film Market (EFM). “Arthouse cinema sold the most.”

Among the best-selling titles were such festival films as Memento Films International’s Golden Bear-winner Nader And Simin: A Separation, the Panorama opening film Tomboy [pictured], handled by Films Distribution, and Cyril Tuschi’s must-see documentary Khodorkovsky which was being sold internationally by Rezo Films.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily, EFM director Beki Probst was cautiously upbeat about this year’s market: “It always depends with whom you speak, but, generally speaking, compared to last year, everything was more optimistic - you could feel that.”

“It seems that the downward trend has been broken and we are coming out of the recession,” she observed.

Although the EFM does not yet have the final figures in for the 2011 edition, provisional data show the number of participants and screenings were up on 2010.

As of the EFM’s last day [Feb 18], the number of buyers had increased year-on-year from 1,365 to 1,532, while the number of films screening at the EFM rose from 666 in 2010 to 741 this year. Of these 741 titles, 570 were market premieres, compared to 517 last year.

The number of market screenings correspondingly climbed from 1,014 to 1,046.

Overall, the EFM attracted around 6,700 participants, 250 more than in 2010.

According to first estimates, the Berlinale is set to repeat last year’s record attendance with 300,000 tickets sold to the general public.

Moreover, the “Berlinale Goes Kiez” initiative, which was originally intended only as a 60th birthday celebration last year to involve Berlin’s neighbourhood cinemas, was deemed “a smashing success” on its reprise this year.