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AFM Draws Record Films and Exhibitors

The 25th American Film Market (AFM) opened Nov. 4, 2004, in Santa Monica, California, with a record number of exhibitors, buyers, screenings and market premieres at the worlds largest motion picture trade event. New this year, the AFM has joined forces with AFI FEST 2004 presented by Audi (Nov. 4 -14, 2004). Animated offerings are sprinkled through the market.

A record 356 companies signed up to exhibit, including film and television companies, financial institutions, sponsoring organizations and trade media. Total attendance is projected to be more than 7,000. For only the second time in the AFMs 15-year residence at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, organizers have taken additional office space outside the Loews at Le Merigot in order to accommodate exhibitors.

In addition, a record 459 films in 28 languages, up 19% from February, are slated for screening, including 289 market premieres, also a record.

One of the U.S. premieres is EMPRESS CHUNG, presented by American Cinema International, a 102-minute 2D animated feature directed and produced by Nelson Shin of Akom Animation in Korea.

An aspiring story rich in Asian culture and art about a young girl with deep love and a true devotion to her blind father. Her strong faith and determination not only recovers her fathers eyesight, as she becomes the Empress of the Empire. The film screens November 6 at 1:00 p.m. at Nu Wilshire Screen # 1 and November 8 at 1:00 p.m. at Nu Wilshire Screen # 2.

Other exhibitors with animated offerings include DIC Entertainment, Filmax Intl, PorchLight Entertainment, Toei Co., IDT Entertainment Sales, First Lok Media, MarVisata Entertainment, Classic Media, Tokyo Broadcasting System, Media Development Authority Singapore, National Film Board of Canada, Icon Entertainment Intl and American Cinema Intl.

On the eve of the AFM, MarVista Ent., producers and distributors of family and childrens entertainment, announced international home video sales of two titles new to AFM 2004, the medieval fantasy movie, WESTENDER, and the action-packed special THRILLS, CHILLS AND SPILLS, and the international debut of THE LITTLEST LIGHT ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE.

Scheduled for domestic home video release in December by Lightyear Entertainment/Warner Home Video, WESTENDER, described by MarVista as being in the same genre as THE LORD OF THE RINGS, has been sold for home video distribution in Japan to Transformer, for Greece to Modern Times Group and, for the Benelux, to Foreign Media Group.

The heartwarming 45-minute animated special, THE LITTLEST LIGHT ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE, available at the AFM from MarVista, will debut overseas on home video this coming holiday season. Distributors are Media Sales for the U.K., Edito Film for France, Force Video for Australia and Foreign Media Group for the Benelux. The award-winning family special features the singing voices of Emmy Award-winner Jane Seymour and Tony Award-winner James Naughton and tells the story of an 8-year-old boy and a discarded Christmas tree light that shines the way in order that he and others find their way in the world.

Michael Ryan, chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (I.F.T.A.), commented, The energy and positive buzz about AFM is at an unprecedented level. Ultimately the AFM is all about product and it's great to see the diverse and eclectic range of films being showcased here. Based on the preliminary feedback we are getting, the future of the independent business is very bright.

The full list of films being screened along with production, cast information and synopses appears on the AFM Website

While the AFM screenings are limited to acquisition and distribution execs, AFM will again offer The AFM Premiere Screenings of more than 35 independent films most world or U.S. premieres to industry professionals and Santa Monica residents at no charge. Free registration is available on the AFM Website.

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