The Spanish Film Festival of Malaga has moved its dates forward a monthto March and added several new awards for its 9th annual editionnext year.

Organisers also announced that veteran Spanish scriptwriter Rafael Azcona, who has dozens of film credits to his nameincluding Oscar Award winner Belle Epoque, will receive this year's Ricardo Franco Prizefor career achievement.

Festival director Salomon Castiel said thelatest date shift from April to March 17-25 aims to give competing Spanishfilms more time to plan releases, thereby avoiding a late spring/early summerpile-up.

The festival's international feature film market, the Market Screenings,will run March 23-25 during the event. But two other parallel market activities- the European and Iberoamerican documentary Mercadoc and the TV Market for Spanish product - willmaintain their April 26-29 dates.

Several new prize categories have been created for the upcomingaddition, including best supporting actor and actress, and best newscriptwriter for the official competition; and public prizes for the TV Moviesand Latin American Territory sections.

Last year's top winner at Malaga, Tapas, is set to open the upcomingInternational Latino Film Festival of the San Francisco Bay Area (Nov 4-20).