Flying from Cannes to Santa Monica: AFM sales are what distributors hope to see.

Position:American Film Market

After Cannes the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, California will get its turn. Organized by the Los Angeles-based Independent Film and Television Film and Television Alliance, AFM will be held November 3-10 at the usual Loews Hotel, and will boast more than 500 screenings.

This year, organizers project 1,500 buyers from more than 70 countries, for 400 distribution companies. Though most attend the event for the business deals, there will also be a conference program, which will include seminars such as the AFM Finance Conference, sessions on piracy and film marketing in the era of social media.

In the wake of a MIPCOM that has returned to form after a few rough years, VideoAge Daily wondered what the indie distributors in attendance expect from this AFM.

Cord Douglas of Los Angeles-based D3 Telefilm remarked that a strong MIPCOM could mean a strong AFM. "The majority of deals we close at AFM originate as pitches made at MIPCOM," he said, elaborating that a productive market in Cannes "will greatly enhance the number of deals closed at AFM." Douglas and company will head to Santa Monica with a recently completed package of movies, as well as three new TV movies that are currently in pre-production: Art of the Heist, An Angel for Christmas and The Lost City.

Ken DuBow, president of Opus Distribution, pointed out that MIPCOM and AFM attract different buyers. "AFM is mostly DVD and theatrical," he said, so distributors adjust their slates accordingly. But unlike Douglas, for DuBow, success at MIPCOM does not necessarily spell success at AFM. "I don't think one really affects the other," he said. DuBow's game plan for AFM is to begin to introduce theatrical movies to film buyers.

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Where the packed fall schedule of trade events is concerned, the executives interviewed, for the most part, only planned to attend MIPCOM and AFM. D3's Douglas explained that the two markets cover all his bases due to the diversity of buyers...

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