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2004 AFM Opens with first AFI Partnership




The 25th American Film Market (AFM) opened this week to rave reviews with a record number of exhibitors, buyers, screenings and market premieres. This was presented by Michael Ryan, Independent Film & Television Alliance (I.F.T.A.) Chairman, Jean M. Prewitt, President and Chief Executive Officer, I.F.T.A., and Jonathan Wolf, Executive Vice President, I.F.T.A. and Managing Director, AFM. Santa Monica, California is the annual setting for the largest US film market, where film reps and buyer come from all over the world to participate. The Lowes Hotel on the beautiful beach of Santa Monica is the Host hotel for this prestigious event.

This year the American Film Institute Film Festival or AFI is being held simultaneously in Los Angeles to assist in capturing the market vendors and film buyers to reap the benefits of both organizations. A record 356 companies will be exhibiting at the world’s largest motion picture trade event, including film and television companies, financial institutions, sponsoring organizations and trade media. AFM is held November 3rd to the 10th, 2004 and AFI is held at the Archlight Cinema in Hollywood November 4th to the 14th, 2004. Many in the film industry will be watching the progressive affectedness of this dynamic venture.

Of the 39 films represented at the AFM are Official Selections at AFI FEST 2004 presented by Audi. Total attendance for the Film Market is projected to be more than 7,000. Where AFI will have attendees close to 40,000 in the ten day Film Festival. The partnership was first announced a year ago and speculations on how this will assist both soon are evident by the sales at American Film Market.

“AFM continues to be the premiere global marketplace,” said Ms. Prewitt. “As the independent film and television industry has evolved into a borderless endeavor, we are proud to provide this significant opportunity for companies to do business together.” “We're thrilled with the response to our first November market,” commented Mr. Wolf. “The AFM's new alliance with AFI FEST marries culture with commerce, bringing tremendous value to buyers, sellers and the entire production community.” In addition, a record 459 films in 28 languages, up 19% from February, are slated for screening, including 289 market premieres, also a record.

Michael Ryan commented, “The energy and positive buzz about AFM is at an unprecedented level. Ultimately the AFM is all about product and it's great to see the diverse and eclectic range of films being showcased here. Based on the preliminary feedback we are getting, the future of the independent business is very bright.”

For only the second time in the AFM’s 15-year residence at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, organizers have taken additional office space outside the Loews at Le Merigot in order to satisfy the overwhelming exhibitor response.

A selection of notable titles being offered at the AFM include: Ken Loach’s AE Fond Kiss (The Works)**; A Good Woman with Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson (Beyond Films Ltd.); A Love Song for Bobby Long with John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson (Kathy Morgan International); The Assassination of Richard Nixon with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts (Senator Intl.)**; Beyond The Sea with Kevin Spacey (Element X)**; Crash with Sandra Bullock and Don Cheadle (Syndicate Films International); Hotel Rwanda with Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte (Lions Gate Films International)**; Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers (Focus Features)**; Kinsey with Liam Neeson and Laura Linney (Myriad Pictures); Ladies in Lavender with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith (Lakeshore International); Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons (Arclight Films)**; Alejandro Amenabar’s The Sea Inside with Javier Bardem (Sogepaq S.A.)**; The Woodsman starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick (Lee Daniels Entertainment)**.

The American Film Market (AFM) is the world’s largest motion picture trade event. The AFM is a global marketplace where more than $500 million in motion picture and television production and distribution deals are closed annually. Each year, over 7,000 industry professionals converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal making, screenings, seminars, networking and hospitality. Participants come from more than 70 countries, and include leaders in motion picture and television production and distribution, directors, agents, writers, lawyers, bankers, festival directors, film commissioners and trade groups. While the AFM screenings are limited to acquisition and distribution executives, AFM will again offer The AFM Premiere Screenings of more than 35 independent films – most world or U.S. premieres – to industry professionals and Santa Monica residents at no charge. The AFM is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance (formerly AFMA), the trade association representing the world’s producers and distributors of independent films. For more information you may go to the website at (www.americanfilmmarket.com).

Keiko Beatie

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