Over 1,000 production companies, 2,000 new films and projects, more than 7,000 industry professionals expected: the American Film Market is back, from November 6th to 13th, to the Loewes Hotel in Santa Monica, “it is the only market produced by sales companies; the only market based in Hollywood, home to more film industry professionals than any other city in the world: and the only market that is not connected with a festival and therefore provides the most efficient, business focused environment.” Jonathan Wolf uses these words to define the uniqueness of the markets he has been directed for 21 years, which is celebrating this year, its 40th birthday.
What are the highlights of 2019 edition?
For 2019 we continue the evolution of AFM with many new initiatives including the fact that companies that to choose to have an office outside of the Loews can now be officially part of the AFM.
This follows the Cannes model of having most companies in a central location but with the opportunity to be outside and still part of the market.
We continue to expand our Industry sessions. This year we will have more than 50 sessions across three stages with over 150 speakers.
Besides, producers may now screen their film at the AFM without the requirement of having an office. We want every participant to have access to all of AFM‘s services. Finally, reserved Meeting Tables have been added at a low cost. This assists companies that have one representative and prefer to operate as efficiently as possible at AFM.
You started as Managing Director of the American Film Market in 1998, what are the most relevant changes you noticed in the film market, and industry in general, since then?
During the AFM‘s first 20 years it was entirely an import-export event. Buyers and sellers were welcomed; there were no services for the production community. Over the last 20 years we have expanded services and programs for the production community resulting in a 600% increase in attendance from individuals who are not buying or selling.
AFM provides, among the other things, opportunities for sharing ideas, discovering partners and establishing the foundations for future projects. What are the services and the instruments that AFM gives to the industry professionals?
As noted above, we have more than 50 sessions. These are all opportunities to connect. Ten years ago we launched MyAFM, an app to assist participants in connecting before the market.
We also have a Filmmakers Lounge and we host cocktails on the San- ta Monica Pier every night for more than 500 participants.
And since most companies are still in the Loews, producers and bu- yers find it very easy to connect with the people they want to meet.
LocationEXPO®, launched in 2017, will take place from 9 to 12 November . How has it grown in the last 2 years and what are the future goals of this special service?
LocationEXPO® will be sold out this year. We wish it were larger but we do not have enough space inside the Loews for the open booths that film commissions want. So there is good demand and it fills up quickly.