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Monday, 25 November 2013 16:13

A Look Back at AFM 2013

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This year’s American Film Market (AFM) was another success, featuring over 400 films from 33 countries for interested buyers among nearly 8,000 attendees. The 357 exhibitors represented a broad spectrum of independent producers and sales agents, showcasing features ranging from micro-budget thrillers to studio epics that are all in various stages of production. Premiering films offered a who’s who of star talent, such as Jessica Chastain, James Franco, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Judi Dench and Jesse Eisenberg. These high-profile movies include Harry and the Butler (starring Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson), Very Good Girls (starring Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Demi Moore and Richard Dreyfuss) and Survivor (starring Milla Jovavich, Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan).

In addition to the myriad of movies featuring A-list stars, AFM 2013 also offered low-budget action, martial arts and comedy movies, including Sharknado 2: The Second One, animated 3D family fare, and films that will likely be seen theatrically outside the U.S.IMG 1184 sm

One of the most heavily promoted films at AFM 2013 is from India. Kamasutra 3D is still in production, scheduled to be completed early next year with a world premiere at Cannes.  Writer/Director Rupesh Paul and his colleagues presented an impressive 3D trailer to promote the film in their suite. Kamasutra 3D is certainly an Indian film, but its producers always planned to have multiple versions for the global market. The Bollywood version will feature musical numbers in keeping with the tastes of domestic audiences, while the international version will feature more nudity and sexuality.

But AFM is much more than a marketplace to buy and sell movies. Film commissions from all over the world arrived in force to promote the benefits of shooting in places like Puerto Rico, Panama, Japan, Turkey and various U.S. states, including, of course, California. There was also a show of companies with multiple agendas. Nanotech of Silicon Valley was there to promote its 4K film-to-digital conversion technology. The company also sought out native 4K content for what it calls the first streaming media service capable of supporting 4K content on both PPV and SVOD terms for consumers.

AFM organizers presented panels with a stellar selection of producers, directors and executives, including Cassian Elwes, Mark Burnett, Paul Bales (The IMG 1086 smAsylum), Eric Brenner (Informant Media), Jon Gerrans (Strand Releasing), Mark Canton (Atmosphere Entertainment), Ryan Kavanaugh (Relativity Media), Mike Goodridge (Protagonist Pictures); Paul Hertzberg (CineTel Films) and Lynette Howell (Electric City Entertainment). As a relatively new feature that launched only two years ago, the conference session welcomed over 700 attendees each day.

AFM attendance by non-buyers/sellers, such as filmmakers, writers, film commissioners, attorneys, bankers, festival programmers, postproduction facility reps and studio facility reps, was up 21 percent from last year. And the market has expanded its programs for producers to include the Conference Series, MyAFM online community, and the inaugural Producers Forum. Overall, AFM 2013 drew 7,876 participants, which is up 2 percent from last year.

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