A showcase of local European box-office hits is one of the programme innovations being planned for this year's Filmfest Hamburg (Sept 19-26) under the new festival director Albert Wiederspiel.

Austria's Poppitz, Sweden's Kops and Italy's Christmas On The Nile (Natale Sul Nilo) are already confirmed for the Eurovisuell sidebar which is also set to feature the top films from Denmark, Serbia, Belgium, Portugal, Russia, Iceland, and the Czech Republic.

Wiederspiel told Screen Daily that other changes to the previous prorgamme structure under predecessor Josef Wutz include the expansion of the TV movie section to screen productions from all over Germany rather than just those "made in Hamburg"; the creation of the new sidebar "DVD - Die Vierte Dimension" to present German premieres of films being released only on DVD in Germany; and the introduction of a children's jury for the KinderFilmfest, which will decide on the winner of the new Euro 2,500 Filmfest-EMIL Prize, donated by TV listings magazine TV Spielfilm .

This year's Filmfest will again host the presentation of the Douglas Sirk Award in recognition of an individual's outstanding contribution to cinema (previous recipients have included Jodie Foster, Stephen Frears and Clint Eastwood) and the week's festivities will serve as the backdrop for the Studio Hamburg Newcomer Award, the presentation of the Cinema Programming Awards, and the staging of the Bitfilm-Festival dedicated to latest developments in digital effects, flash and 3D animation as well as macromovies.