“Why can’t the AFM be like other markets, and last four days instead of eight?” asked Toronto-based Breakthrough’s Nat Abraham. “We would have a more efficient market full of meetings [each day], instead of [just] a few per day,” he explained. “We can’t [even] close the suite early,” he complained. “The organizers don’t let us!”
Despite how he feels about the AFM, he believes that TIFF is perfectly justified in being a longer than average affair, saying that the full 11 days are needed for that market.
This assessment was not shared by ACI’s George Shamieh, who said that he favored a long AFM, but did not consider TIFF to be an effective market for his Los Angeles-based company.
In other news, the Italians returned to the Santa Monica film market with 12 companies this year. Last year, there were none.
Ironically, while the Anglo presence has shrunk from 70 percent to 55 percent (according to a quote from market director Jonathan Wolf), the rest of the world is seeing the American roads paved with gold, with 445 total exhibitors coming from 45 countries, including Ukraine. However, the official count included names of companies that were simply part of a list on a board that was manned by a hostess, like the Miami, Florida-based Universal Cinergia Dubbing. Others were represented by brochures displayed on the 8th floor Atrium of the Loews Hotel, the market’s headquarters.
On Day two, the typical Los Angeles microclimate dumped off early enthusiasm for the event with pouring rain. The sun made a timid reappearance for the remainder of the market — except on Saturday, when it shone brightly.
An early morning shoot-out by the Loews Hotel that left one person dead on the fourth day of the market blocked traffic on Ocean Avenue (which is on the way to the Loews entrance) causing business to slow down for a while. Another form of traffic was blocked on Saturday morning when the hotel’s Wi-Fi service went out for a few hours.
In terms of market outcome, the trade press seemed to reflect VideoAge‘s assessment in its October 18, 2017 Daily (www.VideoAgeDaily.com). Variety’s November 1 edition stated that: “Despite Sunny Forecast, Mart Conditions Stormy.” Three days later, Screen reported, “Industry Talks AFM Future.”
Finally, on Saturday, the market’s fourth day, parking costs on the beach lots jumped from $7 to $10, and a small cup of tea at the Loews went from $4 to $5, while a cappuccino and a pastry at the adjacent Le Merigot Hotel cost $25.
Pictured above, from l. to r., Italian representatives at the AFM: RAI Com’s Cristina Cavaliere, Minerva’s Pictures’ Monica Ciarli, True Colors’ Catia Rossi, and pavilion coordinator ITA’s Mara Radi.