Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock, Ken Loach's Bread And Roses and Lars von Trier's Dancer In The Dark are amongst the highlights at next month's sprawling Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Guests expected during the 14-day event include UK director Stephen Daldry, whose debut Billy Elliot will screen, and John Waters, who gets a tribute retrospective. Amongst the 400 films screening in 20 sections are Stephen Frears' High Fidelity, Patrice Leconte's La Veuve De Saint-Pierre, Edward Yang's Yi Yi and Raoul Ruiz' Comedie De L'Innocence.

The festival, which runs October 5 to18, has programmed a sidebar of mainstream US studio pictures such as Shaft and Space Cowboys to broaden appeal. "We want to expand the festival's audience, attracting people who would not see a Brazilian or non-mainstream title as an option," said Iafa Britz, one of festival's directors.

Industry guests in town include Latin American players such as Argentina's Patagonik Films president Pablo Bossi. Overseas executives expected to attend include Capitol Films co-chief Jane Barclay, 20th Century Fox senior vice-president acquisitions and production Tony Safford and FilmFour chief Paul Webster.

Industry-driven activities include a forum in which local and Latin American product can be offered and evaluated by international buyers. Representatives of international and Brazilian banks and other sources of financing - including Imperial Entertainment Group's Morgan Rector - are meeting to discuss film funding issues.

Another section, Premiere Brasil, is dedicated to recent Brazilian films, with the winner chosen by audience voting. The festival, which this year has enlisted 30 screens around the city, racked up 120,000 admissions in 1999.