Mifed is to defend its claim to be the autumn's leading film sales market by improving its technical facilities and creating a network of linked events.

"The need for human contact will mean that there is always a need for film markets. But at a time when deals are increasingly done all year round, we need to broaden and expand our operations," said Mifed boss Elena Lloyd.

Faced with the ever-present threat from the cool-but-chaotic pre-Mifed screenings in London, Mifed is maintaining its own Milan Selected Screenings (October 26-28) in the three days before the main market (October 29-November 1).

Buyers - many will be invited by the market - will be offered four extra screening rooms at the Ducale, a multiplex ten minutes away by shuttle, and one of the Fiera screening rooms that has been converted for digital projections.

The organisers see the second running of their Mifed award for best film exporters as part of the market's drive to become ever more international. Similarly, the presence of film commissions, which began last year, will be expanded. This drive is supported by the European Union's MEDIA Programme and will be complemented by events under the Agenda banner. About half the attending commissions are expected to be non-Italian.

Other events that are being allied to the market include the CWT Festival, a creative and web festival (October 27-November 1), Milano Creativo and on October 31 the prize-giving ceremony of the Cresta Awards, an advertising industry prize for creativity.