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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

November 1, 2016 -- Santa Monica, already home to some big Hollywood names, will be in the entertainment spotlight this week when the 26th Annual American Film Market (AFM) kicks off on Wednesday.

The week-long event -- which provides a major boost to the local economy -- is expected to attract an international crowd of 8,000 industry insiders trying to sell, buy or finance movies.

Arriving from more than 80 countries, the crowds at the AFM’s “home by the beach” will enjoy more screens this year than in the past, one of the reasons its officials decided not to relocate to Los Angeles a few years back.

Instead of converting ballroom space to add more screening rooms, the AFM wil offer crowds the new 12-screen ArcLight Theater at the Santa Monica Place Mall and the recently renovated Laemmle Theater, which boasts another six screens downtown. The event ends November 9.

“We are honored that Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel has hosted the iconic American Film Market event for 25 years,” said Marcos Borras, General Manager of Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.

“Our hotel takes great pride in welcoming back AFM year after year and in making sure the thousands of attendees have a memorable experience from start to finish,” he said.

The iconic event transforms the hotel into a bustling marketplace for the industry. And it also generates blockbuster revenue, especially during a non-peak time of year for Santa Monica, officials said.

“Event attendees will fill local hotel rooms, restaurants, theaters and retail outlets throughout the duration of the conference, infusing an estimated $20 million in spending into the local Santa Monica economy.,” said Jackie Alvarez, a spokesperson for Santa Monica Travel & Tourism.

“AFM’s 8,000 participants, traveling from more than 80 countries, always look forward to their annual trip to Santa Monica,” said Jonathan Wolf, managing director of the American Film Market.

“Santa Monica has been our home by the beach for 26 years and every year it gets better.”

More information is available at

The AFM, the premier event of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), agreed in 2011 to stay in Santa Monica at Loews hotel, its home since 1991. The agreement expires in 2017 ("American Film Market to Stay in Santa Monica," December 9, 2011).

Santa Monica almost lost the event when the IFTA revealed it was negotiating a move to LA Live in downtown Los Angeles, where hotel rents were lower and would be more plentiful in the near future.

Resistance from some members, who said they didn’t want the marketplace in a “soulless space in L.A.,” helped keep the marketplace in the beach city.

Santa Monica also sold the IFTA on future plans for more movie screens downtown, the renovation of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and at least 700 more hotel rooms, including some mid-priced.

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