Having relinquished its timeslot to the American Film Market, Milan’s Mifed mart is fighting back, moving to conquer new markets, namely Russia, the Mediterranean basin and even China.

Mifed topper Carlo Bassi announced an alliance with Russian film trade fair outfit Kino Expo to jointly operate a film market in Moscow. Plan is to launch Mifed Moscow during the Moscow Intl. Film Festival in June 2005.

“AFM took over our dates claiming there are too many markets. We are saying exactly the opposite: We need more markets in territories that will soon experience the greatest growth,” Bassi said.

To this end, Mifed also is setting up a new mart to be held in the spring in Palermo, Sicily, dedicated to buyers from Mediterranean territories, including Spain, the countries comprising the former Yugoslavia, Turkey, North African nations and Israel. Talks also are under way to start a Mifed in China, Bassi said.

The Mifed topper said some 40 companies are signed up for the next Milan Mifed, to be held Oct. 12-16.

“We are strongly wooing U.S. companies here in Cannes — practically offering them free booth space to get them to come,” Bassi said.