Walter Salles' highlyanticipated The Motorcycle Diaries looks set to make its internationalpremiere in Cannes, rather than at the forthcoming Berlin festival where it hadbeen expected to show in competition.

The Berlin festival invitedthe film last autumn and seemed certain to include it in its main competitionsection. Diaries' Brazilian director Salles had signalled his interestin participating in a number of supplementary events at the festival, includingthe festival's Talent Campus. Sources close to the film, however, now reportthat Salles shooting schedule will prevent him attending Berlin and that he hasinstead accepted an invitation to unveil the film in Cannes.

Berlinale chief DieterKosslick yesterday (19 Jan) confirmed that Diaries will not play inBerlin, but denied that Salles had reneged on a firm commitment to hisfestival. "If a director cannot accept my invitation, one that he has had forthree months then I have to make my programme without," said Kosslick. "We willcontinue our Latin American theme without the film." Berlin has alreadyannounced two thirds of its competition line-up and will confirm remainingtitles at a press conference on Jan 26.

Without apparent irony,Kosslick said: "I understand why this happens. Everyone likes to get promotedto first class. In a way it is testament to Berlin's selections that we losesome films to Cannes."

The Cannes festivalmaintained its usual stance of not commenting on selection issues before itsend of April press conference. But sources within Cannes appeared to confirmthat Salles and Kiarostami had received and accepted Cannes invitations. "Itwould not be unreasonable to speculate along those lines," said one.

Motorcycle Diaries, which takes the form of a road movie andinvestigates some of the formative moments in the life of Latin Americanrevolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevarra, had its world premiere this weekend inSundance. There North American rights were snapped up by Focus Features for areported $4m.

In a private screening onthe margins of Unifrance's Rendez-Vous De Paris market Diaries was shownyesterday in Paris to selected international buyers.

Sales agent, Alison Thompsonof Pathe International confirmed in Sundance that the film was bypassing Berlin. Salles begins production on his next film Dark Water starring Jennifer Connelly for Pandemonium and Disney this week, another factor which would make Berlin a difficult prospect for him.