The Rotterdam and Berlin festivals are to share projects from Rotterdam's Cinemart co-production market as the first step in a new round of co-operation.

The initiative, labelled the Rotterdam-Berlinale Express, will see six of the 43 part-funded Cinemart features transferring to Berlin, which opens on February 6 only days after the Dutch event wraps. The six will receive a formal presentation to financiers, sellers and distributors during Berlin's European Film Market on Monday February 11.

Rotterdam co-directors Simon Field and Sandra den Hamer said: "Rotterdam has always sought to extend its festival partnerships in order to widen the support for and profile of Cinemart projects. We are very excited about the opportunities for producers and film-makers that are opened up by this stimulating new partnership."

Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said: "The networking of festivals has never been more important than today. Our co-operation emphasises the relevance of international and intercultural co-productions for the independent film community."

Rotterdam has firmed up its guest list, confirming a major Japanese delegation headed by the prolific director Miike Takashi and white hot young star Asano Tadanobu. Two of Miike's films - horror-comedy Happiness Of The Katakuris and the yakuza drama Agitator - will receive their international premieres at Rotterdam. His ultra-violent Ichi The Killer and Visitor Q will also screen.

Other confirmed VIPs include Stan Brakhage, Goran Markovic, Zacharias Kunuk and Abolfazl Jalili, director of the opening film Delbaran. Hou Hsiao Hsien will preside over the Tiger Award jury, while other guests include Mike Figgis, Ken Loach, Catherine Breillat Raul Ruiz and Peter Greenaway.

In a further boost to Cinemart, the Prince Claus Fund Film Grant will award Euros15,000 to develop a project from Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Caribbean.