Philippe Bober's Berlin-based The Coproduction Office could claim the accolade of "buzz title" at last week's European Film Market (EFM) for Chinese director Lou Ye's Suzhou (pictured) which has sold to 12 territories and is expected to clean up the rest of the key territories at this week's AFM.

With 14 invitations from international festivals also in his pocket, Bober sold the film to Germany (Bayerischer Rundfunk), Japan (Uplink), France (Goutte D'Or), Austria (Polyfilm), Switzerland (Filmcooperative), Benelux (Contact), Finland (Cinema Mondo), Sweden (Triangel) and Korea (CNP).

"We had three screenings instead of the originally planned two and had to send 20 people away from the third because it was packed out," said Bober, who produced the VPRO Tiger Award-winning film with Dream Factory . "One buyer said Suzhou was better than anything in the competition.'

However Lou Ye's film was one of few to create any market excitement at the EFM, which along with the festival experienced a change of venue this year. Indeed, festival-goers were so involved in getting their bearings at the new venue, that the films on offer took something of a back seat. One French buyer reportedly said at the end of 12 days that "I still have all my cheques in my pocket" and there wasn't the kind of buzz that past markets had generated around such films as Mifune or Beautiful People.

However several international pick-ups were made at the market including:

  • Rudolf Thome's Paradiso - Seven Days With Seven Women which was taken on by Lilli Tyc-Holm's Cine International.
  • Zurich-based World Sales Christa Saredi's added Forum entry George Washington to her catalogue.
  • Jochen Girsch's Brussels Ave picked up international rights (except for Benelux) to Filip van Neyghem's Blinker, and sold it, along with another children's film Vincent Bal's Man Of Steel, to Willmar Andersson Film for Scandinavia.
  • Cowboy Booking International acquired international rights to Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen's Forum documentary Benjamin Smoke and plan to release the film theatrically in the US this summer. Montreal-based Films Transit will handle world sales with Cowboy responsible for festivals and non-theatrical bookings.
  • Among territory sales at the market:

  • US distributor Zeitgeist picked up Hrafn Gunnlaugsson's Witchcraft from Trust Film Sales and Francois Ozon's official competition entry Gouttes D'Eau Sur Pierres Brulantes from Roissy Films-Celluloid Dreams.
  • Fortissimo Film Sales sold The Goddess of 1967 by Clara Law to France's Ocean Films,
  • Gerardo Chijona's Cuban-Spanish comedy A Paradise Under The Stars found takers in Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany (Kinowelt) and all of Latin America.
  • Bavaria Film International sold Veit Helmer's quirky drama Tuvalu to Denmark (Gloria), Finland (Mio), Norway (Arthaus) and Spain (Wanda Film).
  • The Greek Film Centre saw Costas Kapakas' comedy Peppermint, which screened in the Panorama section, being sold theatrically to Japan, with further deals being lined up for Germany and Italy
  • France's Films Distribution picked up The Attack Of The Giant Moussaka.
  • Eric Valli's Oscar-nominated Himalaya was picked up for Australia and New Zealand by Dendy.