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American Film Market
November 7, 2014 @ 9:15 am - November 11, 2014 @ 12:45 pm
AFM is the premiere global marketplace for motion picture production and distribution and the largest gathering of film industry professionals in North America. Join 8,000 attendees from around the world for eight days unlike any other.
The American Film Market provides the tools and opportunities for producers, distributors and sales agents to present their films and projects to 1,500+ Buyers from 80 countries – all gathered in one location and ready to do business.
$3 Billion Spent Annually by Participants to Produce Films
8,000+ Industry Professionals
2,000+ New Films and Projects
1,000+ Production Companies
80+ Countries Represented
1 Week of Non-Stop Industry Networking
Every Fall, the Global Film Industry Converges in Santa Monica
Filmmakers, producers, directors and writers from around the world come to AFM to gain exposure, discover new projects and make deals. Each year, nearly one billion dollars in deals are sealed at AFM on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production. See AFM in Action!
The AFM Conference Series Gives You the Extra Edge You Need to Succeed
Hear directly from Hollywood executives and thought leaders in this unmatched global classroom. Get the most from the AFM… attend the Conference in the morning and visit the market in the afternoon. Conference sessions run Friday to Tuesday, 9:15am to 12:45pm.
Develop. Package. Pitch. Finance. License. Distribute.
Whatever segment of the film industry you work in, AFM is a must- attend event, because in Hollywood, one meeting can define a career.®
AFM Producers Forum
Designed exclusively for experienced producers from around the world, the AFM Producers Forum offers access to specially designed educational sessions, including co-productions, working with sales agents, production incentives, and much more… plus great networking and private hosted receptions.
The AFM Conference Series gives attendees tremendous knowledge, insight, access, value and a rare opportunity to hear from the industry’s global thought leaders, decision makers and experts who all converge annually at the AFM.
The AFM Conference Series will take place Friday Nov. 7 – Tuesday Nov. 11, from 9:15am – 12:45pm daily and will include Conferences on Finance, Pitching, Production, Marketing and Distribution. From treatment to screen, it’s all covered!
Doors & Will Call Open at 8:00am
Conference Hours: 9:15am – 12:45pm daily
Fairmont Hotel, Starlight Ballroom – 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
See the AFM Campus Map.
Friday, November 7
- First Session – Current Issues in Film Finance
Leading CEOs, filmmakers, financiers and executives converge to explore the state of independent film financing, emerging trends, where the money is and what the future holds.
P. John Burke, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP
Matt Belloni, Executive Editor, Hollywood Reporter
Rich Klubeck, Partner, UTA
Brett Ratner, Director of films including Hercules, After the Sunset, Red Dragon, the Rush Hour trilogy, The Family Man, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Chief Executive Officer, RatPac Entertainment LLC
- Second Session – Building Your Global Film Financing Strategy
Where is the money and how quickly can you get it? All you need to know about global financing structures and sources of film finance, including incentives, subsidies and tax shelters.
Joseph Chianese, EVP, Entertainment Partners
Yolanda T. Cochran, EVP Physical Production, Alcon Entertainment
Mike Gabrawy, CCO, Arclight Films
Hawk Koch, Producers Guild of America
Fredrik Malmberg, President & CEO, Cabinet Entertainment
Christopher Pettit, Co-Founder & Joint CEO, Arise Pictures
Adrian Ward, SVP, Entertainment Industries Division, Pacific Mercantile Bank
Pitch Conference sponsored by ROSKINO
- First Session – Pitching Essentials
A good pitch can get a bad film made while a bad pitch can leave a terrific project languishing on the shelf. Pitching is part art (it’s creative), part science (it needs to follow a tight script) and part sales (you have to wow them). Conference attendees will learn the essential rules and tools of pitching from the experts.
- Second Session – The 2-Minute Pitches
Volunteers selected in advance (you?) will pitch to a panel of Hollywood decision makers. They will give unvarnished feedback on each pitch – explaining what worked, what didn’t – and why.
Stephanie Palmer, Founder, Good in a Room
To be considered to pitch on stage, you will need to submit a 2-minute video pitch. For details on how to submit your pitch, read AFM Pitch Conference Guide To Creating An Effective Video Pitch.
Production Conference sponsored by The Associated Press
- First Session – Producing For a Worldwide Audience
Films with universal appeal have the best opportunity to thrive. What does a producer need to do and consider to ensure a film will travel across borders? Take a whistle-stop tour of the globe to discover what is working and, crucially, what isn’t.
Paul Hertzberg, President & CEO, CineTel Films, Inc.
Tom Berry, President, Reel One Entertainment
Eric Brenner, Partner, Informant Media
Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight Unlimited
Mark Gill, President, Millennium Films
Mimi Steinbauer, President & CEO, Radiant Films International
- Second Session – Accessing and Securing Talent
Attracting the interest and services of talent is a competitive minefield. Is it the script? Is it relationships? Do you need to offer a play-or-pay contract? Our experts reveal all of the steps producers need to take to get the right, in-demand, leading lady… or man.
Kevin Iwashina, Managing Partner, Preferred Content
Marketing Conference sponsored by iQIYI
- First Session – The Engagement Factor- Creating Effective Social Media Campaigns
Connecting with and engaging the core audience in authentic, creative and ongoing ways is critical. The social media and marketing gurus behind successful campaigns cover the essentials of creating a customized and innovative digital marketing strategy. Learn why timing is critical, how the consumer can be the most effective marketing tool and where the audience discovery process is headed.
Natalie Bruss, VP, Digital Partnership, ID
- Second Session – The Role of the Publicist and Why You Need One
Publicity is capable of making or breaking a film but it’s often overlooked by independent producers. Beginning in pre-production, publicists play a key role through production, post, festivals and distribution. Leading publicists disclose the dark arts of publicity, the value of crisis management and the achievements and horror stories behind successful independent and large budget campaigns.
Gary Foster, Partner, Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment
Dana Archer, President & Partner, DDA PR
Chris Day, Head, Corporate Communications, UTA
Jill Jones, EVP Marketing & Publicity, Mister Smith Entertainment
Marian Koltai-Levine, EVP Film, PMK*BNC
Tuesday, November 11
- First Session – Video on Demand: 2015
VOD could soon be the primary source of revenue for independent filmmakers. Many see a future where all films are available worldwide and every film finds its audience. Leading aggregators and distributors come together to separate fact from fiction – exploring who is making money, how they are doing it and what the future holds.
Alex Fragen, Global Distribution Strategist, UTA
- Second Session – DIY Distribution: Finding Your Film’s Audience and Digital Niche
What every producer needs to know before bypassing distributors and aggregators. Platforms and filmmakers take the audience through the range of options and reveal how to find and select the distribution channel that will deliver the most enthusiastic audience for every film.
Russell Schwartz, President, Domestic Marketing, Relativity Europa Distribution
Richard Abramowitz, President, Abramorama
Nicolas Gonda, CEO, Tugg, Inc.
Adam Leipzig, CEO, Entertainment Media Partners
Sam Toles, VP, Content Acquisitions, Vimeo
Dylan Wiley, Independent Film Marketing & Distribution Executive
How to Work the AFM: 9 Steps for Producers
If you have a project or script, the most effective use of your time and money is to purchase an AFM Industry Pass which allows access to all offices and most screenings beginning Sunday, (Day 5), or an or an Industry Pass Plus which begins on Saturday (Day 4) and includes four days of conferences. Buy your badge by October 10. After that date, the fees go up.
STEP 1: Homework: Create a List of Target Companies
Over 400 production / distribution companies have offices at the AFM but not all are right for your film. Focus your time and effort on the companies best suited for your project.
Starting about one month before the AFM, go to The Film Catalogue. Most AFM companies list their projects, profile and staff contact information. Do further research on the web. Find the companies that are the best candidates for your film.
Once you have created a target list, count the companies on it. If there are less than 10, you’re being too picky. [“No distributor is right for MY film!”] If there are 100 or more, your homework grade is “incomplete.” Keep working. A good target list for most projects is 30 – 50 companies.
STEP 2: More Homework: Create a List of Target Executives
For each of your target companies, identify the key executives. Most important are the people in charge of acquisitions, development and production. Look for their names in the trades and on company websites. If you can’t find the right names, call the company’s main office and ask.
Finding out who’s who is critical. You will never get anywhere by walking into an office unprepared and saying: “Hi, who is your head of acquisitions? I’d like to meet with him… or her.”
STEP 3: Start Scheduling Meetings
Most companies start setting their meeting schedule three or four weeks before the market. The best way to contact them is to send a short, personalized email. After a few days, follow-up by phone.
STEP 4: Prioritize Your Target List
Separate your list into two groups: companies with an office in the city where you live and those from everywhere else. Focus first on the companies that aren’t based where you live. If you are unable to meet with a company from your home city during the AFM, you can always follow-up with them after the Market. Use other factors (i.e. the budgets and genres of the company’s AFM lineup) to create A and B lists with 20 to 30 companies on each list. This will help prioritize your time near the end of Market.
STEP 5: Work on Your Pitch
A good pitch can get a bad film made and a bad pitch can leave a terrific project languishing on the shelf. Pitching is part art (it’s a creative process), part science (pitches need to be organized and follow a tight script) and part salesmanship. There are many resources on pitching, so our only advice is:
- If you are madly, deeply in love with your project, if it’s your only child and the AFM is its first day of school, get someone else to do the pitch. Pitching it yourself will definitely convince people that YOU love the project but it probably won’t do much more.
- In the pitch meeting, remember that YOU are being evaluated along with your project. When a company commits to your project, they are also committing to work with you.
- Your mission during each pitch meeting isn’t to sell your project. You won’t get a deal in one brief meeting. Your mission is simply: Get the second meeting!
- Consider attending the Pitch Conference Saturday morning.
- Read AFM’s Pitching Essentials
STEP 6: Make More Appointments
During the first days of the AFM (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) call each target company’s AFM office that didn’t respond to your email or first call. Request a 10 minute meeting with the key executive you identified in Step 2. AFM office phone numbers are listed in the AFM Show Directory (available at the Information desk in the Loews lobby). Ask for a meeting on Saturday (Plus Pass), Sunday, Monday or Tuesday as most companies will be too busy during the first few days. For companies that won’t set a meeting (prepare yourself – there will be many), see Step 9 below.
STEP 7: Prepare Materials
Here are some thoughts on what to leave behind after every meeting:
- Your business card. Bring a large supply.
- Your biography and those of all producers attached to the project.
- A synopsis.
- A summary of the film’s unique creative and financial attributes. This could include a list of all people attached or committed to the project, a budget abstract (that’s less than half a page), any rights that aren’t available, investors that are committed, production incentives that you know the film can utilize, etc.
- If the script is done, bring one or two copies with you but don’t leave it behind without first consulting with your attorney.
These are just our suggestions – every film and situation is different. Be prepared, but don’t bring copies of letters or documents that “prove” anything. It’s too soon for that.
STEP 8: Work The Show Before You Go
Done with your homework? Made your appointments? Confident with your pitch? Materials ready? Great! There’s still plenty you can do at the AFM before you get your badge on Sunday:
- Attend the AFM Conference Series. Consider an Industry Pass Plus, as it includes access on Saturday, too!
- If this is your first AFM, attend the AFM Orientation.
- Read the show trades daily to stay on top of trends and deals.
STEP 9: It’s Showtime!
Here, in order, are your priorities for:
- Arrive at every scheduled meeting on time. Be prepared to be “bumped” or delayed. Don’t take it personally – selling comes before buying.
- Visit the companies that wouldn’t schedule a meeting with you on the phone. Remember: always ask for an appointment with a specific person.
- Visit companies on your B list and those you couldn’t easily profile in Step 1. Get a feel for the product they handle and the culture of the company to see if they are the right fit for your film. Consider being a “stealth participant” by picking up brochures and business cards without introducing yourself. Don’t ask for a meeting while you are there. (If you’ve just walked in and asked a bunch of questions, stuffed your bag with their collateral and grabbed every business card, it isn’t likely you’ll get a meeting. Instead, wait half an hour and call the company to schedule a meeting . . . with a specific person.
ADDITIONAL STEPS: Producers with a Finished Film
The steps above are for producers, filmmakers and writers with projects and scripts. If you have a completed film and are looking for global distribution, congratulations! Everything above generally applies but you will need to move-up the timetable:
- One month before the AFM, prepare 4 – 6 minutes of selected scenes. Do not create a consumer type trailer. Acquisition executives will want to see complete scenes to get a feel for the film. Put the selected scenes on a website so companies you contact can see them before committing to a meeting.
- When you contact your target companies, include the link to your selected scenes.
- Create DVD screeners so that qualified prospects can quickly view your film in advance of the AFM. If you can arrange for a screening instead, that would be much better.
- Set your initial meetings with each company in the first four days of the Market. Let them know you are arriving on Wednesday and will close a deal before the market is over.
- Purchase an Executive Pass (You’ve invested a lot of time and money – don’t get cheap now!)
- Make sure your attorney will be available to you throughout the AFM.
We can’t give you personal advice on how to pitch your project or film but we’d like to know how this information worked for you. After the Market, please send your thoughts to AFM@ifta-online.org, Attention: Work the AFM Feedback.
German Edward Morales Agent Talent Manager