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American Film Market Returns to Santa Monica
By Jorge Casuso
October 26, 217 -- For the 27th year in a row, Santa Monica will host the world’s largest motion picture trade show when the American Film Market (AFM) hits town next Wednesday.
The annual event -- which is expected to draw some 7,500 film industry professionals from 70 countries -- is a boon for the local economy, filling the City's hotels, restaurants, shops and theaters.
Santa Monica tourism officials estimate the trade show and conference will generate $20 million during its eight-day stay.
"From supporting our hospitality industry to showering our community with innovative ideas, AFM provides an economic boost to the entire city of Santa Monica at a time of year that is typically off-peak for our tourism industry,” said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT).
During the event key members of the international motion picture and television industry -- including producers, distributors, sales agents and directors -- attend screenings, network and cut deals, participate in panels and attend multiple parties.
More than 300 films will be screened at this year's event, which often offers buyers the first glimpse of a major hit.
Last year, 21 films financed and/or sold at AFM received a total of 62 nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, officials said. One of the films, 'La La Land,' was nominated for 14 Academy awards and won six.
As it has in the past, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel will become the headquarters for the conference, which is the premier event of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA).
In addition to screenings in the Loews Hotel ballroom space, films will be screened at AMC Santa Monica, ArcLight, Broadway Cineplex, Laemmle Monica Film Center and Ocean Screening.
In 2011, Santa Monica, which has been hosting the AFM since 1991, nearly lost the event to LA Live in downtown Los Angeles, where hotel rents were lower and would be more plentiful in the short run ("American Film Market to Stay in Santa Monica," December 9, 2011).
But some members of IFTA, which was negotiating the deal, resisted the move, saying they didn’t want the marketplace in a “soulless space in L.A.”
AFM’s participants "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 for 27 years and every year the AFM experience in Santa Monica gets better.”
Local attractions, tours, shops, restaurants and spas will provide AFM participants with special offers, tourism officials said.
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