Today, October 31, the American Film Market (AFM) opened its doors for its 39th annual eight-day edition — its 28th in Santa Monica, California.

This year, for the first time, a badge is required by all who want to enter the Loews Hotel, the market’s official venue. This is to discourage attendees who conduct business in the hotel lobby without paying any registration fees.

Jonathan Wolf (pictured above), AFM’s managing director, praised the move saying that, “Now participants don’t have to show their badges to security personnel once inside the Loews.”

According to official figures, the AFM is welcoming 70 companies from 28 countries attending for the first time as buyers, with the largest number coming from the U.S., China, Italy, South Korea, Canada, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Buyers from the world’s leading digital platforms are also in attendance.

In addition, the AFM has 60 new exhibiting companies from 15 countries at the market. Of the 400 exhibitors, the U.S. has the biggest presence with 160, followed by the U.K. (34), France (29), South Korea (22), China (17), Japan (13), Russia (12), and Germany (11).

Total attendance is projected to be more than 7,000. Final attendance figures will be announced later in the market.

For 2018, the AFM is placing an increased emphasis on industry intelligence and education, expanding its programming line-up of conferences, roundtables, workshops and spotlight events, and adding the AFM Gallery at Le Merigot Hotel, which is adjacent to the Loews Hotel, as an additional venue.

More than 150 speakers will take the stage for 40 sessions featuring a diverse array of topics to support virtually every facet of the business.

The Conference Series begins Friday, November 2, with “The Global Perspective,” featuring a dialogue with Independent Film & Television Alliance President/CEO Jean Prewitt and Motion Picture Association of America Chairman/CEO Charles Rivkin on the major challenges and opportunities facing the film industry and how their organizations are addressing them.

There will be 400 screenings of 326 films showing across 26 screens. Of these, 64 films will be world premieres. Among the slate of films to screen are candidates for the Academy Awards’ Foreign Language Nomination, including Switzerland’s Eldorado (Playtime).

LocationEXPO, in its second year, will take place November 3-6 in a dedicated exhibit space in the Loews Hotel. More than 60 film commissions, government agencies, production facilities, and services with a combined offering of billions of dollars in production incentives and resources will be represented.