The EFM was winding down yesterday with many buyers already on their way home and complaints that new product was underwhelming, especially when the hottest titles here were documentaries - Morgan Spurlock Untitled which Wild Bunch sold throughout the world, First Look International's Larry Charles Project and Fortissimo's Rolling Stones documentary.

'It was a quiet market,' said Lionsgate's Zygi Kamasa who pointed to the lack of alluring fare at script stage.

Still the big US sellers were closing deals on new titles. Focus had Doomsday, In Bruges and Reservation Road. Summit had The Battle Of Red Cliff. Mandate had Passengers. The Weinstein Company (TWC) had 1408 and Teeth.

And domestic buyers were busier than ever, with TWC (Spurlock doc, Azur & Asmar, Inside), Sony Classics (Moliere), Picturehouse (The Orphanage) and Samuel Goldwyn Films (Priceless, Two Days In Paris) all active.

Indeed, as the Berlinale winds down, the consensus is that the EFM is now an event that buyers and sellers miss at their peril.

'The market continues to improve here in Berlin and like any market it's really just based on the product that's available and if the product is interesting the buyers will come. It's important to have three markets,' said Glen Basner of The Weinstein Company.

'We're pleased with the festival. We did a substantial sale right off the bat with the Weinstein Company [on Inside]. That was a great start. We're pleased with our space - terrific traffic, steady sales,' enthused Celluloid Dreams' Charlotte Mickie.
'It's a difficult market in general because of anxieties over VOD, but we're happy with our line-up and we're happy with the response. There were more buyers than ever.'

Those housed in the EFM Business Offices fretted that 'foot traffic' was slow and called for the location to be better advertised. There were the usual grumblings about the cost of market space in the Martin Gropius Bau, although market director Beki Probst insisted that the EFM's charges were 'absolutely in the range with other markets.'

'EFM is proving itself to be an important market in as much as we've done strong sales business and it's an effective launch pad for some key projects,' said First Look International's Stuart Ford.

Lisa Wilson, Hyde Park International, said that the EFM was 'more of a meet-and-greet event in preparation for Cannes. I don't think psychologically the buyers have made the leap from festival to market here.'

There may be more US companies than ever, but the Europeans don't appear to feel eclipsed. As Andreas Rothbauer of Beta Cinema says, 'the Berlin market has 'developed exactly into what we had hoped for.'