"I do think we've stepped up a rung this year. The quality of the filmswas better by far," project manager Helena Mackenzie commented.
The second London UK Film Focus (LUFF) has closed on a generally upbeat note.Screenings were well attended and buyers clearly supported the event, which nowlooks set to become an annual fixture in the calendar
Among the titles generating the most positive buzz were Breakfast On Pluto,The Business, The Proposition and The Descent.
"As far as the quality was concerned, it was better," acknowledgedA-Films' San Fu Maltha, one of the most outspoken critics of last year's event."I don't think it is there yet, but it was a big step forward."
Between screenings, guests were invited to a series of functions, including a finalnight bash at the Waldorf with John Hurt, Terence Stamp and Rupert Graves inattendance.
UK sellers pronounced themselves largely happy with LUFF. "The whole eventwent very well. Certainly buyers seemed to like it and enjoyed the time towatch films in some peace rather than dashing from one end of the Croisette tothe other," said Park Entertainment's Jim Howell, who was screening NiagaraMotel.
"There was a good level of buyer," said Tim Grohne of Celsius, whichwas screening Tara Road.
But a shadow was cast over the event by the continuing uncertainty over thelong-term futures of some leading British sales agents. HBO closed its Londonsales arm just prior to the event. Sources suggested that at least two othersales companies are on the verge of withdrawing from the film arena.
"The biggest worry for the Film Focus is that there are not enough(British) sales agents any more," one distributor commented.
The organisation of LUFF was again widely praised, but some distributors wereless than enamoured of the hotel in which guests were accommodated. "Thathotel really sucks," complained one. "If they stay there again, Iwon't be coming back."