Venice festival chief MarcoMueller has said that he will not carry on unless there is a firm plan toestablish a film market on the Lido.

Mueller, who will see arecord nine US premieres at Venice this year, told Screendaily:"I have no hesitation in saying I can't continue in Venice unless we cantransform it into a festival with a market."

As in previous years, thefestival will once again host the Venice Screenings for buyers. But Mueller,who is helming his second festival, says: "I will wait until my thirdyear. But next year is really the last year we can do a festival without anembryo of a market. There is no future for Venice otherwise.

"There was a market in the50s and 60s," he continued. "There is no sense in saying you can separate themarket issue from any discussion about the festival. We have to enhance themarket."

Mueller said the festivalshould not bank on becoming a full market in "its first phase." However, he pointed out that nothing iscurrently being done by MIFED or the Italian industry to organise any kind ofmarket on the Lido. "We have the space in the Casino, like Berlin andCannes, to hold a market," he said.

"But the lack ofperspective is criminal.

"A film like SevenSwords, which is opening the festival, has been largely pre-sold [by Fortissimo].But Peter Chan's Perhaps Love, which is closing the festival, is a brandnew film. It has only just been completed in time for the festival. It was notfinanced through foreign sales. So what can we offer internationaldistributors'"

While Mifed had announcedplans last year to link-up with the Venice Film Festival, these plans havesince been shelved, and the market will not take place in 2005.