Speak to a range of British independent distributors and it quickly becomes apparent that they have very different feelings about the Berlinale. For some, it is the place, as Swipe's Frank Mannion puts it, for "brave, innovative movies that can be marketed uniquely". Revolver's Justin Marciano agrees that "the European Film Market is becoming more important".

But Soda's Edward Fletcher - who acquired five films at last year's Berlinale - strikes a cautious note, explaining that the titles have been tough to get into the marketplace. "I paid a good amount for (Hans-Christian Schmid's) Requiem. I competed in the traditional way, but it was released on two screens in London. That is not sustainable at the price I paid for the film," Fletcher says.

He warns sales agents that they should not be surprised if they find British buyers erring on the side of caution. "For most of us, it will just be going there, seeing what's good and seeing if it's still around at Toronto."