At the recently concluded 40th annual American Film Market (AFM), which ran from November 6 to 13, the various film commissions present stole the show with their sheer promotional presence. A separate component of the AFM, the Location Expo, returned to the market on its fourth day with 50 film commissions from 21 countries.

The Location Expo had been part of the AFM for many years, but it went dormant in 1993, only to be brought back in 2016. Located in a dedicated exhibition space within the AFM, the Location Expo was a source of information about locations, production incentives, services, and resources available for projects filmed in a variety of countries.

Film commissions also dominated the space for the banners for the film commissions posted on the balconies of the Loews Hotel, the market’s headquarters in Santa Monica, California. And the trade publications had ads touting their cash back incentives (i.e., returning some of the money spent in their countries), services, and their unique locations. Panama plastered ads for its “Cash Back Incentives.” Malta offered 40 percent cash back. Taiwan boasted up to U.S.$1 million in funding. Poland promoted its 30 percent cash back rebate. Russia upped the ante to 40 percent. And Romania plugged its up-to-45 percent cash back incentives.

Plus, a group from the Italian region Abruzzo held a conference and cocktail party to promote their film commission, and a delegation from Thailand threw a mega-party.

The Romanians, who won this rebate contest, came to the AFM with seven exhibiting companies. Many of them brought attention to the fact that their country’s yearly budget allocated to fund the rebate program is 50 million euro. Poland, too, proudly announced that it has seven regional film commissions and 11 regional film funds, with global funds of $28 million.

In terms of additional facts and figures, an estimated 7,000 participants were in attendance, and of the 375 exhibiting companies, 77 were new exhibitors from 22 countries.

The United States had the biggest exhibitor presence with 160, followed by the U.K. (31), France (26), Russia (19), South Korea (17), Germany (12), Italy (8), Romania (8), and Thailand (8).

In addition, this year, AFM organizers officially allowed companies to set up their sales offices outside of the Loews Hotel, and the adjacent hotel, Le Merigot, no longer housed sales offices.

A more extensive AFM review is now available online in the November Issue at: A complete report will be available in the December Issue of VideoAge.

Pictured above are two representatives from the Abruzzo Film Commission, Francesco Di Filippo and Mauro Febbo (background), who visited the Italian contingent grouped at the AFM under the Italian Trade Commission umbrella suite at the Loews.

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