Preview: american film market 2014


The cinematic fever dream that is the American Film Market (AFM) launches its 33rd edition at the Loews Beach Hotel in seaside Santa Monica on November 5, with organisers expecting a record attendance of over 8000 film and television industry professionals.

Having debuted in 1981 as a sales event to fuel the booming VHS home video sector, the frantic film marketplace is now one of the most crucial production and distribution gatherings on the global calendar. It is anticipated in excess of $800million worth of business will be brokered by sales agents, producers, commissioners and business managers over the eight day event, which transforms the iconic venue into a multi-storey maze of meeting rooms and makeshift offices.

The largest North American gathering of its kind, AFM transforms the coastal Los Angeles enclave into a buzzing movie mecca, with attendees scrambling to take in as many of the 700 screenings scheduled. The suburb’s multiplex auditoriums are co-opted for the event, with an additional six digital screening rooms specially constructed to accommodate the buyer’s viewing needs.

The AFM has grown in stature to such an extent that it is now industry practice to announce major projects in the days leading up to the event, ensuring media coverage and investor interest will be peaking from Day 1.

With the launch of the 2014 event still days away, in-development projects that have already been announced include Magic City starring Bill Murray and Bruce Willis, from producer Mitch Glazer; Ethan Hawke in Born to be Blue, a biopic of jazz great Chet Baker with K5 International handling global sales; and, the hot-again Keanu Reeves in director Tanya Wexler’s sci-fi thriller Replicas, to be sold to the world via Lotus Entertainment.

In addition to the screening slate, the AFM Conference Series will provide attendees with insight into the most pertinent issues impacting the filmmaking sector. Seminars scheduled for the 5-day event address global film financing, the essentials of pitching, international marketing and VOD and self-distribution methodology; panellists include director Brett Ratner (the Rush Hour trilogy; Hercules; Red Dragon), veteran marketing executive Mark Gill (Pulp Fiction; The English Patient; March of the Penguins) and independent producer Cassian Elwes (Dallas Buyer’s Club; Blue Valentine; Margin Call).

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