Exhibitor bookings for thisyear's MIFED are significantly down as a result of the AFM decision to launch aNovember market, according to new figures released by the Milan marketorganisers.

Fiera di Milano generaldirector Carlo Bassi said that the majority of worldexhibitors who traditionally attend MIFED will be there again this year - with the sole exception of British and American AFMAmembers.

Fiera di Milanogeneral director Carlo Bassi said that 140 exhibitors have booked stands at themarket, compared to 223 last year. "But all the Europeans, Asian, andAmerican and British non-AFMA member companies will be here," hesaid. "The 80 companies who arenot attending are all, without any exception, British or American AFMA members,"he said.

Still, Bassiconfirmed that buyer figures are noticeably down. By October 4, Bassi said thatsome 850 buyers had pre-registered for this year's market, compared to 1100 atthe same stage last year.

In the meantime,Bassi announced that MIFED is busily collaborating with the Venice FilmFestival. In 2005, Bassi said that the market will begin in Milan three daysbefore the start of the festival, and will then move to the Lido for a furtherthree days.

"Buyers andsellers will go to Milan to close deals on their catalogues, and then themarket will move to the Lido to specifically handle Venice titles," hesaid.

"We're still definingthe exact number of days, but in any event the market in Venice will only lastuntil the first Saturday of the festival, because after that, industry membershead off to the Toronto Film Festival," he said.

Bassi denied that MIFED'sdecision to once again move its dates is a sign of defeat. "We're movingto coincide with one of the three biggest festivals in the world. Is that asign of defeat'"

"This is the wayforward. Markets need to be linked to a festival. This way, Cannes, Berlin andVenice will each have their own market," he said.

Bassi said that by nextyear, MIFED will build a temporary structure on the Lido that will host themarket. "It will be somewhere between the Excelsior Hotel and the Palazzodel Cinema," he said.