Same Drill With New Twists. The Enthusiasm is Unchanged.

Position:The L.A. Screenings Review

The L.A. Screenings in facts and figures: This 55th edition saw 84 companies exhibiting at the Intercontinental hotel located in the Century City area of Los Angeles, and was comprised of a mix of indie companies and U.S. studios, representing 17 countries.

New this year was a series of conferences organized by NATPE under the banner L.A. Screenings Independents and the requirement of a $50 market badge to access all the NATPE-sponsored activities, including the summit, networking breakfast, and the indie opening party. This fee was introduced for the first time this year, causing some confusion (since no fee has ever been required before). It should be noted that last year, Isabella Marquez, who coordinates the indies' hotel reservations at the Intercontinental, got participants to register for a free nametag badge.

Considering that the Intercontinental (IC) hotel was sold out (for both the exhibition suites and the ground floor tables) this year, there is a growing fear that the hotel might soon outgrow the independent portion of the event. That fear could be mitigated by the expected consolidation and changes in the industry. Also, the sell-out could be traced to NATPE's aforementioned involvement. Additionally, the indie portion of the L.A. Screenings was a success like never before seen in recent years, attracting large delegations of Chinese and Moldovan buyers, in addition to the traditional LATAM acquisition and programming contingents.

The daily screenings were held, as usual, at the studio lots by CBSSI, Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Bros. There were also special screenings hosted by eOne, Lionsgate, Sonar, Paramount, HBO, and Telefe/Viacom.

It was an event rich with a total of 10 parties, starting with those thrown by NATPE, Disney, and MGM. Telefilms combined its general screenings with its traditional cocktail event, and Fox gave two parties: one a farewell salute to retiring LATAM sales veteran, Elie Wahba, the other the L.A. Screenings closing bash. Studios that did not have general parties on their lots hosted selected groups of buyers at studio executives' homes or at restaurants.

The event, which lasted 12 days, started on May 14, and, as usual, was comprised of three sections: The Canadian screenings, May 14-23, which culminated with the so-called "deal night" on May 22; the LATAM portion, which ended on May 17, the day that the U.S. broadcast TV networks finalized their pilot selections during the...

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