The second edition of theBangkok Film Market (BFM) gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday 18) after a falsestart today.

Organisers of the olderBangkok International Film Festival had previously advertised the market asrunning from 17-21 Jan, but with only days of advanced notice, pushed back theofficial start of the event by a day.

This took the edge off anotherwise very promising event, as manybuyers and sellers had arranged meetings and booked market suites which werenot yet available.

Most were able to switchtheir rendez-vous to riverfront cafes or bars and restaurants around town. Butsome buyers unable to change their return flights will be returning home afterjust one full day of the market, instead of two. Today's only official BFMfunction was an opening cocktail party around the pool at the Shangri-La hotel,which also doubles up as the festival headquarters.

Timetabling apart, themarket looks to be promising. Market chief Christine Rush announced that thenumber of exhibitor companies stood at over 300 and more than three times thatof last year. Buyer numbers are said to have doubled - taking the total numberof industry participants to over 500.

"We have a 95% renewal ratefrom last year, but what is very encouraging is that some companies which camewith only one person last year are back this time with four or more. Oftentheir top people" said Rush.

The largest singledelegation is the 41 local Thai companies, made up of a mixture of sales,production and service outfits. But there are also good numbers of sellers fromJapan, China and India. BFM's roster of top Japanese companies - which includesToei, Toho Towa, Shochiku, Nikkatsu and Movie Eye - would be the envy of otherAsian markets such as Hong Kong's FilMart and Pusan.

The large numbers maysuggest that some Japanese sellers are looking at BFM as an early alternativeto the now defunct February AFM or have not yet been convinced by the claims ofBerlin's European Film Market.

Long-haul buyers, however,may be fewer in number, although there are buyers from France's Europacorp, theUS' Mosaic Media, German outfits EMS Media and SF Media, Denmark's Scanbox andThe Netherlands Egmond.

"It is difficult to askpeople to travel if they are not sure of the films that we have but as we getgoing, we believe that more people will come," says Rush.