The third annual Spanish Film Screenings at Lanzarote (Nov 29-Dec 1) established the event as a valuable showcase for Spanish productions and talent but not a marketplace for closing deals.

"People see films here; the reaction comes later," said Antonia Nava, head of international sales and co-productions at Filmax.

Nevertheless, growing interest in the Screenings has inspired a second Spanish film market to be convened annually during the Spanish Film Festival of Malaga, pushed up a month this year to April 26-May 4, 2002. Conceived last year as a sales office for competition films at the fest, the dubbed Market Screenings will be extended this year to all new Spanish productions.

According to co-ordinator Carmelo Romero, former deputy director of Spanish Cinema Institute ICAA, Malaga aims to emulate the scope and organisation of Lanzarote. The event will run for three days (May 2-4) less than two weeks before Cannes kicks off. Distributors said the timing could present conflicts.

Lanzarote, too, has struggled to carve its own niche in the busy annual festival and market calendar. Sogepaq's decision this year to hold back two much-hyped titles - Sex And Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo) and Intact (Intacto) - after they were accepted to Sundance left some buyers disappointed.

"Lanzarote has bad timing because it comes after London, MIFED and MIP-COM, before Sundance, and it coincides with the European Film Awards," said Sogepaq head of international sales Eva Diederix. Diederix brought five other films to Lanzarote including Spain's foreign language Oscar nominee Mad Love (Juana La Loca), one of the event's best-received titles along with Grupo Pi's My Mother Likes Women (A Mi Madre Le Gustan Las Mujeres) and Planeta 2010's Work In Progress (En Construccion).

Teodoro Rios, director of the Screenings, said the organization had studied the possibility of changing dates but hadn't encountered a better time and preferred "holding it in winter, which is one more attraction" enticing participants to the sunny island locale.

Rios also said the organisation does not get involved in companies' decisions about which films to present, and suggested that missing big-name films "tend to be those which have already sold to most countries."

Some 40 feature films and documentaries screened at Lanzarote this year, with a small handful of negotiations for sales reported at event's end. A record 63, mostly European buyers turned out.