Argentina's leading Mar del Plata International Film Festival will retain its A grade festival status next year, the International Federation of Film Producers' Associations (FIAPF) agreed at a general assembly meeting in Cannes.

The festival's status was challenged following the inclusion in competition at its latest edition (March 6-15) of local film Valentin despite the fact that the film had already competed in Biarritz, making it ineligible according to FIAPF regulations.

Mar del Plata director Miguel Pereira insisted that the error was made in "good faith" based on a misunderstanding of the FIAPF rules and its request that Valentin be pulled after the festival had already begun.

Bertrand Moullier, director general of FIAPF, said the Cannes decision was made "with the proviso that [Mar del Plata] accept full responsibility for what happened and agree to check with us in the future on any doubts about how to interpret the regulations." He added that the festival gave the FIAPF "clear guarantees that this won't happen again."

"I'm pleased [with the decision] of course, because it wouldn't have been good to commence with a new management and be punished by the FIAPF," said Mar del Plata festival director Miguel Pereira, who headed his first edition this year.

Pereira said that for next year's edition he would like to bring in private sponsors and greater participation from the city of Mar del Plata so as to no longer rely entirely on funding from the state institute INCAA. He also said he hopes to iron out organisational wrinkles and maintain Mar del Plata's Latin American/ Iberoamerican focus.

"In the long term, I would like to see Mar del Plata become the reference point for Latin American cinema for the rest of the world," he said. "Logic also guides us: if Argentinean cinema is precisely now starting to resonate - and Mexican films are making waves, and Brazilian films are starting to do so again - how could we not reflect this'"