The Belgrade International Film Festival FEST is to launch a forum to boost links between film professionals from Western and Eastern Europe and neighbouring countries with a strong European influence and heritage.

Speakingexclusively to, project manager Miroslav Mogorovic explained the focus of the B2B Industry Meetings (March 3-5, 2006) would be on the public pitching of10 projects looking for co-production partners from Western Europe.

Eightwill be selected from 18 countries ranging from Croatia, Bosnia &Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine,Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,Kirghistan and Turkmenistan, and another two projects will come from filmmakersfrom Serbia & Montenegro.

Therewill be no restrictions on format, length, category, language or budget, andthe projects can be at all stages of production.

B2B participants will be invited to evaluate the presented projects with the two most highly rated winning $8,500 (Euros 10,000), with an obligation to hold a regional Balkan premiere at a future edition of FEST.

Inaddition, representatives of film centres and ministries of cultures from thecountries outside of Europe will speak about their respective film fundingpolicies. A second workshop will analyse the potential for co-productionwith producers from the European Union.

Mogorovicsaid he is aiming for a mid-January deadliine for submission of thepitching projects so that the Project Book can be distributed to industryprofessionals during the Berlinale in February. Around 100 representatives ofproducers, directors, financiers, exhibitors, distributors, ministries ofculture and film centres from Western Europe and the 18 non-EU countries areexpected to come to Belgrade to meet their counterparts from Serbia &Montenegro.