The second edition of the Spanish Film Screenings of Madrid expects to attract 131 international film buyers this weekend - about 25 percent more than last year. And the growing interest is reflected not only in the number but also the stature of the buyers, according to the Spanish Producers' Federation, FAPAE, which organizes the event.

'Before some people had trouble fitting the date into their calendar,' said FAPAE president Pedro Perez, at Monday's presentation of the event. 'At this moment, the people who are coming are the ones with the buying power, the ones who can close the sales in future meetings.'

The Madrid Screenings, which replaces the previous event at the more remote venue of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, aims to boost distribution and exhibition of Spanish films abroad.

Its $810,000 (Euros 600,000) budget is paid for by public institutions such as the Spanish Institute for Foreign Commerce, known as ICEX, and private sponsors such as the Cines Princesa chain.

The first edition attracted 105 buyers from 36 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Officials at ICEX estimate that sales of Spanish films abroad rose by 15 percent last year.

At this year's Screenings, organisers expect to see stronger representation by major markets such as France, whose contingent will more than double from 5 to 12 buyers.

Representation from UK will increase from six to 11 buyers, partly because some US companies, who made last year's biggest showing, plan to send London-based executives this year, a spokeswoman said.

Madrid will also see buyers from three new countries - the Czech Republic, Venezuela and Croatia - which missed last year's event.

Organizers expect additional names to be added in the final days before the event, which runs June 10-12.

Among the 56 feature titles in the line-up for buyers are the Carlos Saura musical Fados, Fernando Colomo's The Near East (El Proximo Oriente) and Antonio Banderas' second directorial effort, Summer Rain (El Camino de los Ingleses), which pre-sold in two territories at last year's Screenings.

For additional celebrity cachet, organizers have recruited Pedro Almodovar muse Carmen Saura, who starred in his most recent feature Volver, to help promote the event.