A significantly smaller scale MIFED kicks off on Tuesday(Oct 12), but sellers who are in Milan say they are determined to conduct goodbusiness at the Fiera.

On Monday, a day before the market started, MIFED'sreduced size was plain for all to see. With the number of exhibitors down fromlast year's 223 to this year's 142, the Fiera has reduced themarket's space by around a third. 80 US and British AFMA members haveboycotted this year's market to support the new autumn AFM.

Sellers pointed out that many French companies have groupedtogether this year in UNIFRANCE's large stand, whereas they previouslyhad their own stands. Some also said that while the European and Asian presencewas very strong, fewer Scandinavian companies seemed to be attending.

Echoing the thoughts of many, Bavaria Film Internationalsaid: "It is quieter, but we're really just waiting to see what willhappen on Tuesday when the market starts."

Several sellers pointed out that they have made aconsiderable investment by taking a stand at MIFED, and simply need to make acertain number of sales in order to get a return on their investment.

Many also explained that AFM's decision to hold asecond market next month has made it an extremely costly autumn.

"We are here to do business and we will dobusiness," said Peter Poone of Hong Kong's Fortune Star.

"By having two autumn markets this year, we will havesplit the business we normally do at one market in two and will have doubledthe costs," said Simon de Santiago, deputy director of distribution atSpain's Sogepaq, whose slate includes Alejandro Amenabar's TheSea Inside. "But we've made abig effort to have a big stand here as we've got quite a few films on ourslate at the moment, so we hope it pays off."

Companies in Milan include the UK's Capitol Films andRenaissance Films, as well as France's Celluloid Dreams and PyramideInternational, Japan's Shochiku Co, Spain's Filmax, China FilmPromotion, and a number of non AFMA-member US companies such as American CinemaInternational, Creative Light Worldwide and Curb Entertainment.

MIFED will host 333 screenings, 60% of which are marketpremieres. These include Mike Leigh's Venice winner Vera Drake, Patrice Leconte's Dogora, Claude Chabrol's The Bridesmaid, TheSea Inside, and The Ninth Day by Germany's Volker Schlöndorff.