Rotterdam's international co-productionmarket CineMart wrapped its 23rd edition on a high note last night,with general praise for the overall quality of the 45 productions being pitchedto 800 producers, financiers and sales agents at the Dutch city port.

Prizes were awarded to three of the projects: Lasya, by Anup Singh took the $18,000 (Euros15,000) Prince Klaus Fund grant, while A Mexican Story by Arturo Aristikasian,and Wang Bing's Hei Tie De Rizi both picked up an Arte France $12,000 (Euros 10,000) award.

With new projects from AmatEscalante, Guy Maddin, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, Mourad Boucif, Eran Riklis, Wu TianMing, Jan Svankmajer and Pablo Trapero on the table over four days of intensivepitching in half-hour round-table sessions, the cumulative budget of theproductions at CineMart hit $91m (Euros 75.4m).

"I was very pleased with theselection; it was a better overall quality than last year," said Jean-FrancoisDeveaux, head of acquisitions at France's MK2, estimating he would conclude adeal with "two to three" projects at a "very busy" market.

Others conferred,with many producers going home to juggle offers from sales agents.

Topping CineMart's budgetswas Australia's Beetle Ramen at $5m, although most projects were in the$1-$3m range.

While there was no announcement of a project to emerge from themarket fully-funded, many producers said they were extremely pleased at theoutcome and were confident their projects were solidly on the road to a shoot.

Russia's IlyaKhrzhanovsky (4), at CineMart with two projects including his own $3m (Euros 2.8m) Dau, said: "I understood it before, but I see it here again thatthe world is open at Rotterdam."

Following his debut, 4,Khrzhanovsky has started Phenomen Films with partner Artem Vassiliev; theirother project at Rotterdam was Alexey German Jr's Soviet space centre drama Otryad.

With the Co-Production Office on board his Dau as co-producer and salesagent, Khrzhanovsky and Vassiliev said they were confident it would now go intoproduction in Russia, the Ukraine and Denmark this autumn.

The UK's BBC Films was onsite (with head David Thompson) as co-producer of the $2.1m (Euros 1.8m) Blind Spot,an Electric Pictures feature with Fortissimo Films already attached in thestory of an illegal Chinese immigrant worker in the UK. Written and to bedirected by Li Yang, the script was inspired by the Morton Bay cocklepickertragedy.

This was the first CineMartfor co-managers Marit van den Elshout and Bianca Taal, who took over from IdoAbram at the helm of the international co-production market. Abram now headsthe Binger Lab, formerly the Binger Institute, in Amsterdam.