The Berlinale's European Film Market (EFM) is looking forward to a vintage year, with record-breaking levels of registrations, screenings and exhibitors.

According to market director Beki Probst, over 120 companies from more than 30 countries were already booked by last November, with three new exhibitors attending the EFM for the first time - Hong Kong's Golden Network, Turkey's Sesam and Canada's Sodec.

A week before the beginning of this year's market, the EFM has received registrations for a total of 651 screenings of 420 films, with France in pole position with 67 films followed by Germany (60), North America (34), Italy (32), Scandinavia (31), Brazil (22), Portugal (21) and Spain (19). The demand for screening slots was so high that the EFM decided to hire another cinema in the Cinestar complex to cater for all requests.

Probst added that accreditations for the EFM have already exceeded the 4,000 mark and are likely to make 2002 a memorable year.

This edition of the EFM will also include a number of innovations such as the Rotterdam-BerlinaleExpress where six Cinemart projects will be presented at a special event on February 11 as well as two panels on German-French co-productions and on the new Russian film market.

An analysis of the creative, economic, legal and administrative parameters for German-French co-productions will be attempted by producers Claudie Ossard, Frederique Dumas, Margaret Menegoz, Humbert Bulsan, Reinhard Klooss and Alfred Huermer in a panel discussion on Feb 8, while Berlin-based producer Thomas Kufus will chair a discussion on February 13 with the Deputy Minister for Culture Alexander Gotuva, distributor Raisa Fomina, producer Sergei Seljanov (Brat) and NTV-Profit Director-General Igor Tolstunov (Luna Papa) on financing models, the film industry infrastructure and artistic trends in present-day Russia.

Meanwhile, a special screening of International Jury President Mira Nair's Golden Lion-winning Monsoon Wedding is one of another six titles being scheduled as special screenings "out of competition" in the Berlinale's Official Programme in addition to the 32 features showing in the Competition and three gala presentations.

The other five special screenings- all documentaries - are Microcosmos director Jacques Perrin's Le Peuple Migrateur (The Travelling Birds) following the migration of wild birds; US TV journalist Matthew Ginsberg's Uncle Frank about his 85-year-old great-uncle; Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft's The Tramp And The Dictator (to complement this year's closing film The Great Dictator); Douglas Wolfsperger's Bellaria - As Long As We Live! (Bellaria - So Lange Wir Leben) about a small Viennese repertory cinema; and - as previously reported - the Italian documentary Un Mondo Diverso E Possibile (Another World Is Possible) about the events surrounding the G8 summit in Genua in July 2001 as a co-presentation by the Peace Screen Award Initiative.