The world’s largest film market opens in Santa Monica today – the American Film Market (AFM) – that features screenings of 415 motion pictures from 35 countries for the more than 8,000 industry professionals who converge in the city for the next eight days of deal-making, seminars, premieres, networking, and parties.
Loews Santa Monica Hotel at 1700 Ocean Ave. becomes the headquarters for AFM with more than 300 exhibitors who hold meetings in converted hotel rooms about film financing, production, marketing, distribution, and pitching.
For the first time, AFM is also hosting a five-day Conference Series starting Friday, which will cover topics spanning from treatment to screen and featuring the industry’s global thought leaders, decision makers and experts, and 14 intimate, interactive and informative Industry Conversations led by visionaries, trendsetters, and experts.
Films making their World Premieres include “A Gang Story”, starring Gérard Lanvin and Tchéky Karyo (Gaumont); “Bad Karma,” starring Ray Liotta, Dominic Purcell and Rhona Mitra (Screen Media); “Columbus Circle”, starring Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Giovanni Ribisi and Kevin Pollak (Lightning Entertainment); “Nobel’s Last Will,” starring Malin Crépin, Björn Kjellman and Leif Andrée (Zodiak Rights); ”Snowflake, the White Gorilla,” starring Elsa Pataky and Pere Ponce (Filmax International); “Special Forces,” starring Diane Kruger, Djimon Hounsou and Benoit Magimel (StudioCanal); and “The Expatriate”, starring Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko (Essential Entertainment).
Films premiering also include the works of prominent actors and directors Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Jackie Chan, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Fassbender, William Friedkin, Amy Heckerling, Keira Knightley, Richard Linklater, Matthew McConaughey, Carey Mulligan, Seth Rogen, Martin Scorsese, Todd Solondz, Audrey Tautou, and Michelle Williams.
Paul Leclerc, Loews Santa Monica Hotel Managing Director, said the hotel began to slowly shut down its normal operations last Monday with its lower levels closing down first so mattresses and box springs could be removed. Mattresses and box springs from the final floors — seven and eight — were removed Friday afternoon.
“It’s a very unique situation for us,” Leclerc said. “We are typically a 24/7 operation, but we become completely fractured in terms of the ways we typically operate. All of the action will be from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. in the morning until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. at night when the final exhibitors leave the hotel for the day, then we become completely empty.”
Leclerc said exhibitors arrived at their converted office rooms on Monday and Tuesday to set-up.
It is estimated that 4000 to 6000 people will flow through the hotel each day of AFM.
Next year is the final year in the contract between Loews Santa Monica Hotel and AFM to be the host venue of the annual event.
Leclerc said he hoped Loews would continue to host the event, but talks with AFM organizers are still ongoing and no final decision is expected until after this year’s AFM.
“We absolutely are intensely focused on delivering the exception experience for the client and the partners so that we continue to keep this market alive and well in the Santa Monica economy and community,” Leclerc said.
“We want to continue to see them stay in Santa Monica.”