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AFM Moves to Fall with AFI Film Fest

AFMA announced June 16, 2003 that it will shift its annual Santa Monica, California-based American Film Market from February to November beginning in 2004. The last winter AFM will be held on February 25 to March 3, 2004. The first fall AFM will be held November 3-10, 2004, meaning indie players and business will need to make plans to attend the AFM twice in 2004. This removes the AFM from the busy awards season as well as the nearby Sundance and Berlin fests.

At the same time, AFMA said it has forged a new strategic relationship with the American Film Institute. AFI FEST and AFM will join forces for marketing, sponsorships scheduling, registration and a variety of initiatives. Each event will continue to be managed separately, but the collaboration will unify the market and festival. AFI FEST will be held November 4-14, 2004.

This will pit it up against Reed Exhibition's confab MIFED, which runs the first week in November in Milan, Italy. MIFED had a slight resurgence last year and is expecting a stronger turnout for its 70th annual fest November 9-13, 2003.

A growing number of vocal indie players have called for reducing the indie circuit. Industry watchers have noticed declining attendance at markets and festivals due to terrorism, military conflicts and medical scares as well as a shrinking market.

"As a global trade association, AFMA's role is to anticipate and serve the long-term needs of the independent film industry," said AMFA president/ceo Jean Prewitt. "The November dates enhance AFMA's ability to create new programs and services during the AFM, while showcasing independent film in Hollywood in advance of the awards season."

AFMA (, formerly known as the American Film Marketing Assoc., is a trade group representing indie producers and distributors of motion pictures and television programming worldwide. The AFM, founded in 1981, draws 7,000 industry execs from more than 70 countries to see some 400 films screened. Future dates for the AFM are November 2-9, 2005, and November 1-8, 2006.

The AFI Fest ( is the longest-running film festival in Los Angeles, celebrating new and established filmmakers from around the world.