The 27th American Film Market (AFM), the nation’s biggest film bazaar, opened November 1 in Santa Monica with a record 435 companies from over 35 countries signed up to exhibit. Unlike a film festival, the AFM is a marketplace where production and distribution deals are closed. In just eight days, more than $800 million in deals will be sealed – on both completed films and those that haven’t started shooting yet.
Founded in 1981, the AFM is a pivotal destination for independent filmmakers and business people from all over the world. Each year industry professionals converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, seminars, red carpet premieres, networking and parties. Total attendance this year is expected to be more than 8,400 from over 60 countries, and includes acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry. It is the world’s largest motion picture trade event.
“The $11 million fiscal impact the American Film Market brings to Santa Monica each year is profound,” said City Manager P. Lamont Ewell. “From our police officers to beach crews, all of the people in our community work together to once again welcome this important group.” Of the $11 million, over $3 million comes from hotel revenue.
AFM is produced by the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), the trade association representing the world’s producers and distributors of independent motion pictures and television programs. IFTA chairman Michael Ryan said, “Our business is undergoing exciting changes in production, distribution and technology. The AFM provides the perfect venue for our members to swiftly capitalize on the opportunities that change creates.”
According to a research report on the 2005 AFM commissioned by the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, the program itself has a total annual operating budget of $4 million specifically for the tradeshow, about half of which goes to Santa Monica businesses for items including location rental, theater rental and set-up, furniture, equipment, security and traffic management, food, beverages, signage, parking and meeting and reception space.