The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF)has unveiled ambitious plans for a full-scale market which it claims will bethe biggest and most comprehensive in Asia.

To be held alongside PIFF in October 2006, the four-day event has beenchristened the Busan Film Market (Busanis the new name for the city although the festival has kept the old spelling).It will be structured around market booths, with room to accommodate 300companies from 40 countries, the BFM-TV multimedia contents market and twoexisting events - projects market PPP and the BIFCOM locations showcase.

Housed at the Busan Exhibition &Convention Centre (BEXCO) and the 10-screen Megaboxmultiplex in Haeundae, it would also feature aconference programme and about 200 market screenings. Joint organisers PIFF andthe Busan Film Commission described it as a "totalmultimedia market" that would "lead the competition".

The proposed market will also benefit from a six-fold budget increase,from the current $500,000 for PPP and BIFCOM combined, to around $3m suppliedby Busan Metropolitan City and theprivate sector.

The event joins a crowded calendar for sales agents and buyers which hasn't eased despite the disappearance of Mifed.

It takes place shortly after ad hoc markets at the Venice and Toronto filmfestivals and just weeks before the American Film Market in November.Organisers stressed it would be more of an Asian showcase than these otherevents. However, Asia alreadyhosts a full-scale market - Hong Kong's Filmart - at the end of March and smaller markets at the Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai filmfestivals.

"We're not trying to catch upwith markets like the AFM. Our focus is on Asian films and we'll be muchsmaller," said PIFF director Kim Dong-ho. "Where people go depends on the qualityof the market."

While Filmart may have a timing advantage -taking place before the biggest market of the year at the Cannes filmfestival - the global industry may be drawn to South Korea due to the current strength ofKorean product. In addition, BIFCOM director Park Kwang-soosuggested that some of the event's hugely expanded budget may be used to covervisitors' costs.

PIFF introduced market booths at the Paradise Hotel in Haeundae about three years ago and has often hinted itwould launch a fully-fledged market.

The proposed Busan Film Market, which will beheavily subsidised by Busan Metropolitan City, formspart of a plan to turn the locale - currently a container port and tourismcentre - into a film and multimedia hub. PIFF is getting a purpose-builttheatre complex in 2008 and both the Korean Film Commission (KOFIC) and KoreaMedia Rating Board are relocating to Busan.