Indies Get Down to Se­ri­ous Busi­ness

Beach­side mart makes changes as the at­ten­dees an­tic­i­pate healthy deal­mak­ing

Variety - - Focus - By GREGG GOLD­STEIN

Last year’s Amer­i­can Film Mar­ket boasted a 6% in­crease in at­ten­dance and an 18% boost in ex­hibitor par­tic­i­pa­tion over 2016, de­spite wide­spread concern from ex­hibitors about projects be­ing swept off the ta­ble in world­wide pick­ups from Net­flix, more year-round deals made out­side the mar­ket and emp­tier hall­ways seen at the Loews Santa Monica. In re­sponse to what they can con­trol, AFM’S pro­duc­ers at the In­de­pen­dent Film & Tele­vi­sion Al­liance are adapt­ing the event to keep buy­ers and sell­ers as happy as pos­si­ble.

AFM man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jonathan Wolf says those empty floors were a byprod­uct of too many badge checks due to over­crowd­ing from the pub­lic.

“For the last 36 years, any­one could come into the lobby,” he says. “But be­gin­ning this year, all of the ho­tel will be AFM space and cre­den­tials will be checked be­fore en­ter­ing it. Now our most val­ued par­tic­i­pants, the buy­ers, will be able to freely walk through the ho­tel with­out be­ing asked to flash their badge every minute. We think it’ll make the ex­peri- ence much more en­joy­able and pro­fes­sional for the par­tic­i­pants.”

And much as the pool was re­stricted to AFM guests a few years ago, this new pol­icy will cre­ate even more ar­eas for them to net­work and do busi­ness. It’s some­thing one of Europe’s big­gest pro­duc­ers and dis­trib­u­tors, Con­stantin Film CEO Martin Moszkow­icz, says keeps AFM es­sen­tial de­spite in­dus­try changes.

“We’re mov­ing from the tra­di­tional pre­sale model for our own movies” — the long­time fo­cus of AFM — go­ing “from pre- sell­ing a cou­ple of mar­kets for our higher-bud­geted/over-$50 mil­lion movies into eq­uity-based fi­nanc­ing, some­times with part­ners, some­times by our­selves,” he says. “A lot of mid­size mar­ket movies that were also our bread and but­ter have pretty much dis­ap­peared over the last cou­ple of years. The very few in­ter­est­ing projects, of course, ev­ery­one jumps on them and there’s a good chance that you’ll have to over­pay to ac­tu­ally get them be­cause there is so much com­pe­ti­tion for those.”

He adds that that “there aren’t that many buy­ers any­more, and espe­cially when it comes to higher-bud­geted movies, there’s a lot of fear out there. We can’t re­ally sell an ex­pen­sive movie as eas­ily as we used to, or at all. And if you can’t, then you’re los­ing a lot of the up­side, be­cause the one ad­van­tage of the pre­sale model was that you

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.