On the eve of the European Film Market in Berlin, Rai Trade has announced an eyecatching Japanese deal on its new title, Angelo Longoni's Caravaggio. On the basis of the rushes, Tokyo Theatres have picked up all rights to the biopic, which tells the story of the troubled but brilliant Italian artist.

Rai's head of cinema and fiction international sales Sesto Cifola also reports strong US interest in the $7.8 biopic, currently in post-production. Some formidable talent has been recruited both behind and in front of the camera. Oscar winning Vittorio Storaro is director of photography, and Alessio Boni, the star of The Best of Youth, is playing the title role. Elena Sofia Ricci plays Costanza Colonna, who protected the painter all his life and tried to save him from his desire for self-destruction.

Caravaggio will be shown in two forms - a theatrical version and a 200 minute, two episode TV version. It is likely to be ready for Cannes.

Here in Berlin, Rai Trade is giving market debuts to Eugenio Cappuccio's One Out Of Two, Christian Bisceglia's Matchmakers and Francesco Amato's What The Hell Am I Doing Here.

Cifola has underlined the growing significance of the EFM to European sellers. Speaking earlier this week, he commented that the Berlin market 'is more importantt than the AFM. First of all, we are in Europe, there are a lot of European distributors and I have European product. There is no comparison between the American Film Market and the the EFM. The EFM is a lot more interesting to me.'