Before the start of the L.A. Screenings 2017, it looked like we could have a remake of the L.A. Screenings 2008, which, under the weight of the writers' strike that began in November 2007, saw only a few pilots completed. Fortunately, the 2017 disputes with the two writers' unions were resolved a month before the Upfronts presentations in New York City, with a three-year contract for non-linear broadcasting signed ahead of time. This time, it came down to the wire, with the writers' unions calling off the planned strike for pension and SVoD residuals just a few days before the Upfronts.
With the new disputes resolved, the first day of the Indie portion of the L.A. Screenings market, May 16, kicked off with busy schedules, intensive suite meetings, Sonar's general screenings and the NATPE opening party. The following days were just as busy, with a MIP Cancun reception, Caracol party and Telefilms' general screenings.
At the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City, which, as usual, was the venue for the Indie portion of the L.A. Screenings, Latin and other buyers found 80 exhibitors from 16 countries, with seven first-timers, including All3Media and Sonar. That's a slight decrease from last year's 88 distribution companies. Similarly, the overall number of buyers throughout the whole two-week event was down a bit with most studios seeing around 1,500 buyers from 56 countries.
For the first time this year, Isabella Marquez, who traditionally coordinates the Indies at the Intercontinental Hotel, introduced nametag badges for participants. As of May 11, 910 people had registered for the free badges in advance and 300 more did it by the market's opening day. Marquez also arranged for free Wi-Fi service throughout the hotel for L.A. Screenings participants.
The badge concept was well received and some participants who operated from the busy lobby without renting a suite--such as ACI's Chevonne O'Shaughnessy--were even willing to pay a fee to get a badge, "since we are taking advantage of the services," she said.
On the first day of the L.A. Screenings' Indie portion at the Intercontinental, which gathers mostly LATAM buyers, Jeff Crounck, the hotel's bell captain, delivered 261 copies of VideoAge to the buyers' rooms. According to him, VideoAge was the only publication that provided this service.
On May 18, Fox signaled the end of the indies' event and the kick-off of the studio segment with their own screenings. This year's market --which...