According to the event’s organizers, over 400 production and distribution companies are to attend and over 400 films are to be screened, over 100 of which are world premieres. And according to the event’s attendees, more and more TV buyers are present at the AFM.
Though it’s been around for over three decades, this year’s market has descovered something brand new: “The big change for 2011 is the introduction of the AFM Conference Series. For five days, November 4-8, we will have a series of half-day conferences covering finance, marketing, distribution, production and pitching. As AFM attendance has grown, our attendees have asked for a more structured, curated education experience,” according to Jonathan Wolf, managing director of the AFM.
“We are also launching the AFM Industry Conversation series, interactive and informative discussions led by Hollywood thought leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and experts,” Wolf added. (The conversations are free to anyone with an AFM badge but limited to 100 attendees, so they’re open a first-come, first-served basis.)
Distributors who come to Santa Monica can expect a very international market. “Only 12 percent of the buyers are from the U.S. The rest come from more than 70 countries,” Wolf said.
One executive who depends on those very buyers is Irv Holender, principle director of the Fremantle Corporation. Hollander was one of the founding members of AFM, and “never misses one,” he said.
“We’re going to be presenting because there are so many TV networks attending this year,” Holender said. “There seem to be more and more each year, as well as streaming companies and VoD and telephone companies looking for content. There are location companies, too.”
This year Fremantle will focus on PBS miniseries Women of War & Peace and documentary Bhutto, new paranormal series Journey Beyond as well as TV series such as Zorro and Black Beauty.
“Because this year it was so close to MIPCOM, [AFM] gives us opportunity to close some ideas that started at MIPCOM. We see a lot of the same buyers at the two markets. It helps that AFM is a lot longer [thank MIPCOM],” Holender said.
Emilia Nuccio, VP of International Sales at Echo Bridge Entertainment, said that she too, uses AFM as an opportunity to finish up some business from MIPCOM. She’s always pleasantly surprised with how many international buyers attend the AFM. “There are all-rights buyers, theatrical buyers, television buyers and DVD buyers. There are always new buyers that we meet with and I always end up meeting with more than I originally planned.”
At AFM, her company will be showcasing new thriller Boot Tracks, comedy Goats, action-adventure series Hirokin, sci-fi thriller Tasmanian Devils and documentary Peal Jam Twenty (to which Echo Bridge has TV rights only).
Nuccio added that the fact that AFM is the last major market of the year means adds some cache. “NATPE and AFM are the two book-ends. Aside from sending some sales people to key territories, we’re wrapping up our business for the year,” she said.