The Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) yesterday struck a pact with the American Film Marketing Association (AFMA).

The deal is just one of several initiatives intended to boost Shanghai's weight as a market for films.

The SIFF-AFMA memorandum of friendship sets out a five-point plan that starts with exchanges of information and market organisation, but also extends to efforts to boost the imports of foreign films into China and co-operation moves to boost film production and intellectual property rights.

The deal was signed by Chen Xiaomeng, deputy executive secretary of the SIFF organising committee, and AFMA representative John A McKenna. The two set themselves a target of lifting international trade between their members to over $50m.

SIFF sees a booming film market as one of the key planks in its bid to gain front rank status among the world's film festivals. Having this year been awarded 'A' status by the International Association of Film Producers (FIAPF), Shanghai has committed to making the festival, which was held once every two years, an annual event. And it has moved to co-ordinate dates and locations with the International Film and TV Market (IFTVM) so that the two coincide and complement each other

This year the IFTVM was held for a modest three days and saw 31 exhibitors, mostly from China, take part in the event, which was held in the lobby of the Shanghai Arts Centre.

Completed deals were hard to find during the market but there was solid interest in two films - Full Moon and Female Coach Male Player - from the Tianjin Film Studios. International sales agents also chased panorama film Fathers, produced by Cao Lin.