Source – shootonline.com
By – SANTA MONICA
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The American Film Market (AFM)–which ended its eight-day run in Santa Monica on Nov. 13–experienced growth on several fronts, drawing 7,876 participants, a two percent increase over 2012. Of this turnout, there were 779 buying companies, three percent more than last year. There was also an uptick in overall buyers (1,624). Also up was attendance from non-buyers/sellers such as lawyers, bankers, festival programmers, film commissioners, filmmakers, financiers, postproduction facilities, producers, studio facilities and writers. The collective tally of these attendees reached 2,606 which was up 21 percent from the 2012 AFM. This increase reflects the AFM’s expanded programs for producers, including the Conference Series, MYAFMonline community and the inaugural Producers Forum. Exhibitor attendance was on par from last year with 357 exhibitors from 33 countries. However, attendance among exhibitor-affiliated participants (including their executives, producers, talent and guests) came in at 2,807, a nine percent decrease as compared to 2012. The AFM screened 402 films from 51 countries, including 327 Market Premieres, 76 World Premieres and a total of 627 screenings across the AFM Campus in Santa Monica. Films making their market premiere included: Palo Alto (Pathe International) starring Emma Roberts, James Franco and Val Kilmer; Philomena (Pathe International) starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan; Love Punch (SND M6 Group) starring Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson; Tar (Spotlight Pictures) starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper and Bruce Campbell; Before the Winter Chill (TF1 International) starring Daniel Auteuil, Kristin Scott Thomas, Leila Bekhti and Richard Berry; C.O.G. (The Exchange Inc.) starring Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare and Corey Stoll; Made in America (The Exchange Inc.) directed by Ron Howard, starring Jay Z and Kanye West; Night Moves (The Match Factory) starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard; Two Night Stand (The Solution Entertainment Group) starring Miles Teller, Analeigh Lipton and Jessica Szohr; and Joe (West End Films) starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan.
Among other market premieres were: Kiss Me (American Cinema International) starring Jenna Fischer, Emily Osment, Missi Pyle and John Corbett; Around the Block (Arclight Films) starring Christina Ricci, Hunter Page-Lochard and Mark Coles Smith; Le Grand Cahier (Beta Cinema) starring Laszlo Gyemant, Andras Gyemant, Piroska Molnar, Ulrich Thomsen, Ulrich Matthes and Sabin Tambrea; McCanick (Bleiberg Entertainment) starring David Morse, Cory Monteith, Mike Vogel, Ciaran Hinds, Tracie Thoms and Rachel Nichols; Cas and Dylan (Breakthrough Entertainment Inc.) directed by Jason Priestley, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslany; The F Word (Entertainment One) starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver and Rafe Spall; World Petank Tour (Europa Corp) starring Gerard Depardieu, Atmen Kelif, Edouard Baer, Daniel Prevost, Virginie Efira and Roschdy Zem; The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (Gaumont) starring Helena Bonham Carter, Kyle Catlett, Callum Keith Rennie and Judy Davis; Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Huayi Brothers) starring Mark Zhao, Angelababy Yang and Carina Lau; The Sea (Independent) starring Ciaran Hinds, Charlotte Rampling and Rufus Sewell; Some Velvet Morning (International Film Trust) starring Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve; Walking with the Enemy (Koan Inc.) starring Ben Kingsley and Jonas Armstrong; Half of a Yellow Sun (Metro International Entertainment) starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejoifor; The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her (Myriad) starring Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, James McAvoy, William Hurt, Isabelle Huppert, Ciaran Hinds and Bill Hader; Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Pathe International) starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris; God Only Knows (Synchronicity Entertainment) starring Ben Barnes, Toby Jones, Leighton Meester and Harvey Keitel. The record numbers being generated by AFM also extended to attendees from mainland China. In total China accounted for more than 100 distributors and producers and executives from 50-plus companies across all disciplines of the film industry, according to Jonathan Wolf, managing director of AFM and executive VP of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. Chinese companies attending AFM included: Airmedia Group; Beijing Asian Union Culture & Media Investment; Beijing Battlestar Studio Cultural Development Company Limited; Bazuca Films (BF Distribution); Beijing Ciwen Film Distribution Co. Ltd; Beijing Dong Fang Ge Dian Culture Exchange Co., Ltd; Beijing Film Market; Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co., Ltd.; Beijing Orange Sky Golden Harvest TV & Film Production Co., Ltd; Beijing Shumeng Huoli Chuanmei Wenhua Ltd. (Shumeng); Beijing Top & Harmony; Bestv; Beijing Xiang Jiang Yi Hua Film & TV Culture Communication Co. Ltd; BlueMedia Times Co., Ltd; Bona Film Group Limited; Champs Lis International Ltd.; China Blue Films; China CSun Culture & Media Communication; China Film Promotion International; Chinese Film Market Magazine; Ci Wen Media Group; Ciwen Media Group; Dadi Century (Beijing) Co., Ltd; Daysview Digital Image; ERG Film Corporation Ltd; Eye Film Studio; Filmworks China; Flame Node Entertainment; Fujian Heng Ye Film Distribution Co., Ltd; Fundamental Films; Golden Oak Pictures Inc.; Heart Farm Pictures; Heyi Capital; H.G.C. Entertainment Ltd.; Hi-Show Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd.; HK Demin Media Company Limited; Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd.; Huayi Brothers Media Corporation; Infotainment China; JY Entertainment; LEOMUS Culture & Media (Beijing) Co., Ltd.; Melting Culture Ltd.; MOYA International Investment Group; Q Global Cultural Communication (Beijing) Co., Ltd; Ray Production Ltd; Reach Glory Communications; Shanxi Entertainment Co., Ltd; SMG Pictures; Sundo; Taomee Film Group; Universal Full Band Media Co., Ltd.; Youku; and Wanda Film Production.
And for the fourth straight year, AFM and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council jointly presented “Hong Kong Day,” which highlighted the city as Asia’s co-production center, focusing on what the international film community can gain by partnering with Hong Kong companies. Events during the special day–Nov. 7–included screenings of varied movies presented by Hong Kong companies (Special ID, Tales From the Dark 2, Bonta 3D, Iceman 3D, Baby Blues, The White Storm), a seminar on Hong Kong as a co-production mecca and gateway to China. Wolf stated, “Hong Kong is Asia’s co-production hub, thanks to its free-trade agreement with mainland China–the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement–its excellent services sector and its renowned film industry.” Discussion sessions also gained a foothold at AFM. The AFM Producers Forum kicked off with observations from Aaron Ryder, FilmNation’s president of production. He shared his definition of a producer: “There are four parts of being a producer, in my opinion: the first is finding and developing the material, the second is the packaging, meaning the directors, the actors… The third is financing and the fourth is overseeing these three things until the release of the movie.” On the impact of cable television on the film industry, Ryder related, “Television has saved the industry. It brings a different speed, a different stamina… the quality of TV shows will make us better filmmakers. Cable television takes more risks, more emphasis on writing… it has pushed the bar higher and has become so incredibly popular.”
The AFM Marketing Conference included two panel discussions: Crowd Sourcing Your Audience, and Demystifying Film Festivals. In the latter session, feedback on Cannes was favorable. “Generally if your film is in Cannes, you’ll sell that movie,” said Charlotte Mickie, executive VP, international sales, Entertainment One. Mike Goodridge, CEO of Protagonist Pictures, added, “It’s the premiere event of the year as far I am concerned.” As for how much a sales agent has to do with getting into festival, Kevin Iwashina, managing partner, Preferred Content, said, “It has the potential to increase your odds, but at the end of the day, a quality film will rise to the top. Every film is contextualized to where it fits within the program.” The Crowd Sourcing Your Audience session centered on how successful producers are discovering the latest tools to building and activating a target audience by using social media to aggregate potential audiences before and during production. Panelist Rikk Galvan, principal, RGM/BIG Games, related, “Once you make an emotional connection, keep stimulating them to think, to be in the realm of whatever the idea is of your movie. If you ask your audience to do something–they will. It’s so easy to access and keep audiences as long as you do it in a small way that keeps them informed.” AFM also had a Working With the U.S. Guilds session, at which Kay S. Wolf, independent film executive with the WGAW, shared, “As of December 1st the WGA has a new agreement for low-budget films. These will be more workable for producers and those who wear various hats on a production.”
There was a smattering of film commission exhibitors but others kept a presence at AFM in different ways. For example, Steven Bornn, development manager of the U.S. Virgin Islands Film Office, an exhibitor in previous years, managed to line up face-to-face meetings with producers and location scouts during his stay. He was also part of an AFM Locations Expo-type reception which drew a healthy turnout, aided in part by being held right after a Producers Forum session. Traffic from that panel discussion spilled right out into the locations reception in the courtyard of the Le Merigot Hotel, which is next to the prime AFM venue of the Loews Hotel. The U.S. Virgin Islands has a track record of hosting features and TV shows, including the movies The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (with scenes scripted for Florida shot on Water Island and St. John), Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and The Island of Dr. Moreau, and such TV fare as Momma’s Boys (NBC) and Road Rules (MTV), Bornn noted that commercials remain a bread-and-butter staple of lensing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Among the assorted brands shooting there have been AT&T, Canon, Capital One, Citibank Visa, Corona Beer, Expedia, Ford/Lincoln Mercury, Gillette, Heineken, Hyundai, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Oldsmobile, Ralph Lauren, Subway and Victoria’s Secret.
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