Independent filmmaking is still largely a relationship business so the opportunity to sit down face to face and expand the conversation about your company, talent or country beyond what has been written in the press is invaluable to everyone working in the industry.
As thousands of industry professionals from 28 countries descend upon the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica for the 39th American Film Market with their films, scripts and dreams, there’s one thing everyone can agree on, the film and TV industries are constantly seeing changes and shifts in the business of making and selling independent projects.
Since its inception, AFM has evolved into something larger than a film market to buy and sell independent film. The film and TV production community from around the world are drawn here to AFM. Its an opportunity for them to expand their knowledge about the business.
Writers and producers also have the rare opportunity to access 400 film company offices in one place with the prospect to land meetings with financiers and sales agents. Potential for success relies on presenting carefully curated projects that present value and are tailored to the specific tastes of each company.
“AFM has always been the big market,” says Millennium Media President Jeffery Greenstein. “You have Cannes in the spring and AFM in the fall. AFM is the market at this end of the year where everyone scrambles to bring their projects. At AFM I’m basically selling morning to night, from dusk to dawn.”
Producers and sales executives agree that AFM is critical for the continued growth and health of the independent film market. Nat McCormick, EVP at The Exchange sees the people at AFM looking to evolve independent film business practices, “Amongst a certain amount of buyers, people are exploring more types of co-productions.
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Buyers who would have before just been licensing a territory, there’s more exploration, and maybe they can come in and also be an equity financier on a picture. Maybe they can be a co-production partner.”
“Filmmakers looking for money for their next project can come to AFM and find international film companies interested to jump in and help sell the movie so that filmmakers can borrow the necessary funds to get the film produced,” says Mudbound producer Cassian Elwes. “Keeping in mind, of course, that a project must have the right elements attached and offering value at the right price point.”
Elwes adds that as a young producer of independent film you need to educate yourself. “AFM is a great melting pot of like-minded people. It is an opportunity to compare war stories, to hear about opportunities you didn’t know about; soft money in foreign countries or hearing about a star that people are excited about in France that you weren’t aware of. When your next project comes around you are already aware of what you can do with that movie in terms of putting the financing together to make it happen.”
The AFM and its contemporary film markets are essential to bringing industry people together in one concentrated place where they can sit down face to face and focus on the business of creating, selling and distributing films while hearing first-hand what’s happening in different territories, especially in the era of platforms and evolving consumer preferences.
It will be exciting to see what happens this year. Reel360 and Reel Chicago will be there to get the scoop.
Source: American Film Market