Three Rooms Of Melancholia, the latest documentary byveteran Finnish filmmaker Pirjo Honkasalo (Flame, Cannes 1980, TheFire-Eater, AFI Grand Prix 1998) emerged as the hottest title at theThessaloniki Documentary Festival and the Doc Film Market that wrapped hereyesterday.

The film looks set to join the growing number of full-lengthdocumentaries that secure extensive theatrical distribution around the world.

The film, which looks at the vulnerability of children inthe face of the war, was shot in Chechnya and Russia.

It is still playing in Finland after four weeks and nextweek opens in France on 20 prints through Ocean Films.

It has already secured distribution in Germany on 44 printsthrough Salzgeber Distribution.

A co-production between the Danish and the Swedish FilmInstitutes, the Nordic Film and TV Fund, ZDF, Arte, YLE TV2 and the MEDIAProgramme, it is next released in Italy (Classic) and the US and Canada (TheNew York Forum). Producer Kristiina Pervila told thattwo offers are currently being fielded for distribution in the UK.

Thebuzz around the film and the career award bestowed by the festival to Honkasalowas one of the several highlights of the event, which also saw the EuropeanDocumentary Network (EDN) bestow its first ever EDN Documentary Award to theco-producer of the film, the Finnish TV public channel YLE for "its outstandingcontribution to the development of the European documentary culture".

EDN director Tue Stee Muller handed the award to LeenaPasanen (YLE Teema) and Erkki Astala, head of YLE Co-Productions.

The festival's 20 projects-strong Pitching Forum ended on ahigh note with the UK project Fair Play by David Hermann and the Swedishdoc The Last Battle Of The Milkbar by Terese and Ewa Einhorn gettinghigh marks and firm commitments in cash from YLE Teema.

The audience prizes for international films went toAustrian/Belgian/French co-production Darwin's Nightmare by HubertSauber and to the US production Stranger, Bernie Worell On Earth byPhilip Di Fiore.

In the Greek section the audience awards went to MusicalCommunion by Yorgos Botsos and to Cho Oyu by Pavlo Tsiandos.

TheFipresci awards went to The Three Rooms Of Melancholia and to the Greekproduction Elias Petropoulos-An Underground World by Kalliopi Legaki.