In keeping with the Italian theme of this year's edition, the 19th Guadalajara Mexican and Iberoamerican Showcase has unveiled plans to open the festival with Bernardo Bertolucci's erotic thriller, The Dreamers.

The event, which runs from March 19 - 25, has selected Italy as its guest of honour this year. A sidebar on Italian cinema will feature classic and recent films from the country ranging from Federico Fellini's Amarcord (1973) to Pupi Avati's Il Cuore Altrove (2003). In addition, the festival will present Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro with a 'Mayahuel de Plata' lifetime achievement award.

The second edition of the festival's Iberoamerican market runs concurrently for five days (March 19 - 23). Like the inaugural edition, the market aims to bring together an international contingent to take stock of recent cinema from Iberoamerica (mainly Spain) and Latin America.

Last year attracted 36 producers, 72 distributors and 81 buyers, according to the market organisers. They hope to increase the number of participants this year and include films of the last three years, including productions from late 2003. Alejandra Paulin, formerly head of the international department of Mexico's national film institute, Imcine, has been appointed to run the market.

The festival has yet to reveal its official competition lineup. Sergio Arau's A Day Without A Mexican may be presented as a work-in- progress. Arau, the son of Like Water For Chocolate director Alfonso Arau, shot the comedy based on his acclaimed short in California. He hopes to complete it by the end of March.