AFM Attendance Up & Better Armed for Digital Distribution

The 26th American Film Market (AFM), which opened on Nov. 2, 2005, reports record attendance with an all-time high of 8,014, a 13% increase over last years 7,064. They are also better armed to deal with digital distribution issues thanks to new Model International Licensing Agreements containing clauses to deal specifically with the emerging world of digital distribution, drawn up by AFM parent organization the Independent Film & Television Alliance.

The new agreement forms contain nine paragraphs dedicated to granting distribution rights across the Internet. "Sellers can sell the rights as stand-alone or part of a package," said IFTA president/ceo Jean Prewitt. She also announced that IFTA is in the process of drawing up rights agreements for its members to cover the world of mobile technology distribution, expected to be ready in time for the Cannes Film Festival next year.

The attendance numbers reflects attendees across all categories, including exhibitors, buyers, buyers with exhibiting companies, industry badges, press and guests. This year, 1,583 buyers coming from 62 countries were signed up. This is the first time that the AFM has tracked buyers registered with exhibiting companies.

Countries showing a significant increase in buyers include Belgium (up 29%), Brazil (up 24%), France (up 11%), Hong Kong (up 27%), Italy (up 10%) and Korea (up 22%). This market also has experienced increases from Latin/South America (up 20%) and Middle Eastern countries (up 17%).

On the exhibitor front, a record 419 companies from 33 countries had a total number of 3,822 attendees, an increase of 6% over last year. Industry attendees total 1,526, a 34% increase over last years 1,139.

Among the animation exhibitors are IDT. Ent., PorchLight, MarVista and M6, which premiered its movie ASTERIX in the U.S. Nov. 4 at the AFM. Many other producers are circulating the halls and lobby, setting up individual meetings and impromptu demos such as Denis Friedman of F4 (France) who is showing previews of his PLANET OF THE WINDS.

Prewitt, IFTA chairman Michael Ryan and Jonathan Wolf, IFTA evp and AFM md predicted at the open of the market that business levels would surpass the $500 million mark of recent AFMs. The market runs through Nov. 9.

The AFM (www.americanfilmmarket.com) is the worlds largest motion picture trade event. The AFM is a global marketplace where more than $500 million in motion picture and television production and distribution deals are closed annually. Each year, some 7,000 industry professionals converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal making, screenings, seminars, networking and hospitality. Participants come from more than 70 countries, and include leaders in motion picture and television production and distribution, directors, agents, writers, lawyers, bankers, festival directors, film commissioners and trade groups.

The AFM is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the trade association representing the worlds producers and distributors of independent motion pictures and television programs.

In 2004, the AFM moved to November and established a strategic alliance with AFI FEST, creating the only festival-market combination in North America. AFI FEST, presented by Audi, runs Nov. 3-13 (www.afi.com).

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