After 35 years, the time has come for the  American Film Market (AFM) to ask where it is going and what the reason for the market is.

These are the two questions floating on the minds of the dozen or so exhibitors that VideoAge contacted at the Loews Hotel, the film market headquarters. (According to AFM, there are nearly 1,600 buyers from 70 countries in attendance.)

Starting with the latter question, participants reported that as far as theatrical release potentials, there are at most five movies been screened at the market and, since they are films with big casts, most likely they were sold even before shootings.

“Television is everywhere,” commented an old-timer, “This is now a TV market.”

And that brings up the first question: “Where is the market going,” especially considering it comes on the heels of the largest, all-encompassing MIPCOM.

In addition, money to produce independent films is getting tight. Perhaps –– and this is one of the market’s plusses –– this is the reason for two major finance related seminars at AFM.

Naturally, for Los Angeles-based companies, attending AFM is relatively inexpensive, so in effect it is not a complete loss, even though few exhibitors can hope to recoup with film sales the $30,000 or so invested in the market.

Two additional observations: One of the theatrical movies being peddled is actually an animation from Germany: Studio 100’s Maya the Bee.

Another interesting development is that for the first time after many markets, Lloyd Kaufman’s 40-year old Troma Films is not exhibiting.