Guillermo del Toro, Costa Gavras, Antonio Banderas, Viggo Mortensen and Nelson Perreira dos Santos are some of the celebrities who will attend the Guadalajara Film Festival (March 22-30), which boasts a strong Iberoamerican selection of no less than 140 full length and 106 shorts in its various strands.

Del Toro, fresh from the Academy Awards where Pan's Labyrinth obtained three statuettes, will offer a master class accompanied by art director Eugenio Cabalero, Academy Award winner for the same film. Del Toro will receive the Premio Guadalajara, a special award created for the first time this year by the festival.

Two-time Academy Award winner (for Z, Missing), French-Greek Costa Gavras will also hold a master class and will be honoured with a retrospective of his films.

Banderas will be on hand to present his second directorial outing, Summer Rain (El Camino De Los Ingleses). Viggo Mortensen, star of Alatriste by Diaz Yanes, will also attend the festival.

The 'father' of Brazilian Cinema Novo, veteran master Nelson Pereira dos Santos (Vidas Secas, Memorias do Carcere) will represent a 14 title-strong homage to the cinema of his native country.

Brazilian production The Year My Parents Went On Vacation by Cao Hamburger kicks off proceedings - fresh from the Berlin Film Festival.

Fourteen feature-length fiction films are vying for top honours in the Iberoamerican competitive section. Among them, the Brazilian A Casa De Alice by Chico Texeira, Desierto Feliz by Paulo Caldas, the Berlin-awarded El Otro by Argentinian Ariel Rotter, Mariposa Negra by Peruvian Francisco Lombardi, Transe by Portuguese Teresa Villaverde, Lo Que Se De Lola by Spanish Javier Rebollo as well as Mexican films Malos Habitos by Simon Bross and Dos Abrazos by Enrique Begne.

Jonas Cuaron, son of Alfonso Cuaron, tops the Mexican competition with his first outing Anio Unia. Among the 12 titles in the national selection are: El Brassier De Emma by Marisa Sistach, Parpados Azules by Ernesto Contreras and Esperame En Otro Mundo by Juan Pablo Villasenor.

Competing films, including the sections of Iberoamerican and Mexican shorts, will share in $150,000 cash accompanying the Golden and Silver Mayahuel awards. Another $153,000, plus a new award worth $325,000 dollars offered for the first time this year by the Spanish public TV (RTVE) will be shared among the selected 30-plus projects pitching for co-production, presented in the various strands which run alongside the Guadalajara Film Market. These include the Cannes Marche du Film Producers Network accompanied by its topper Jerome Paillard, the San Sebastian Cine en Construccion and the Toulouse Film Festival's Recontres Cinemas d'Amerique Latine.

Other film funds present in Guadalajara this year are the Berlin World Film Fund, the Dutch Hubert Bals as well as the Swedish Goteborg Film Festival Fund and the French Amiens Film Festival Screen writing Fund.

Co-production and market activities represent the core of the fresh initiatives introduced by festival head, former producer and distributor Jorge Sanchez, who is now in his second year at the helm.

Sanchez has substantially beefed up this year's Guadalajara Film Market, steered by Alejandra Paulin. A record number of 244 participants are expected to be present. Among them are the Dutch-Hong Kong powerhouse Fortissimo, Latido Films (Spain), Media Luna (Germany), the European Film Promotion (EFP), Europa Cinemas, as well as Latinofusion, the Mexican sales and distribution outlet put together by Sanchez and former Brazilian Grupo Novo executive Alfredo Calvino. Latinofusion was created by and operates under the Guadalajara University (UdeG), the main sponsor and backer of the Guadalajara festival.

Also present in the Market are various Iberoamerican cinema institutions such as INCAA (Argentina), ICAIC (Cuba), Imcine and AMPI (Mexico), ICCA (Spain), Ancine (Brazil) and Ibermedia.

Among the numerous side events at the festival is the Magnum in Motion show, which comes direct from its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, showcasing 18 films created by such renowned stills photographers as Robert Capa, Rene Burri (who will attend the festival), Raymond Depardon and all members of the renowned Magnum photo agency.

Also present this year in Guadalajara is a selection from the prestigious audiovisual Intl Film Festival, the Biarritz based FIPA, curated by former Cannes Quinzaine des Realisateurs head Pierre Henri Delleau.

Among the invited international productions - highlights from other international festivals - at Guadalajara are: Invisibles, the Spanish Javier Bardem porte-manteau production directed by the likes of Wim Wenders, Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Isabel Coixet, Mariano Barroso and Javier Corcuera; Das Freulein by Andrea Staka (Switzerland); La Faute A Fidel by Julie Gavras (France), Hounds by Ann-Kristin Reyels (Germany), Little Red Flowers by Yuan Zhang (China), Adrift In Manhattan by Alfredo de Villa (US), The Art Of Crying by Peter Schonau Fog (Danemark), Sons by Erik Richter Strand (Norway).

Also showing is a retrospective of the last four Pedro Almodovar films, whose presence at Guadalajara is yet to be confirmed.