In early November, the American Film Market returned for a vibrant in-person market after two virtual years during COVID. At this year’s 43rd edition, the Vision Media team was proud to be on the ground meeting old friends and new faces in the entertainment community. It was a great to speak with creators of all shapes and sizes about how they can bolster outreach and securely showcase their content.
American Film Market Social chatter
The social media sphere was also consistently chiming in with its thoughts on the return of the AFM. There was a general positive sentiment towards the event and what 2022 means for independent filmmakers.
A circulating thought from around the market included a focus on the challenge of the economy “returning to normal.” The current international economic and sociopolitical situation may still be affecting acquisition budgets, theatrical ticket sales, advertising investments and more. Inflation, border crises, and a slow pandemic bounceback are top of mind for the global entertainment community.
Jean Prewitt, IFTA’s President/CEO, points out that recent challenges have also opened up opportunities for independent creators:
“One good thing about the experience of the pandemic was the shift online, which showed how very real that marketplace is. No one sniffs at it anymore and thinks, ‘oh no, I’m just doing theatrical.’ A lot of new avenues have opened up but it has also forced people to think much more seriously about whether or not their films really do have theatrical potential or whether it’s more realistic to go to some online or cable service, and seriously cut their budget in accordance with that.“
Highlights from the AFM market floor
Every year at the American Film Market, thousands of international filmmakers, distributors, and acquisition executives attend the event to sell content, find finance partners and acquire films. Vision Media met with independent filmmakers and distributors to discuss opportunities across best-in-class secure screening, title promotion, and marketing support.
On day 5 of AFM, Jason Deadrich opened with some remarks ahead of a busy Pitch Conference session. The session featured so many creative pitches and candid commentary from judges Cassian Elwes, Michael Ryan, and Lee Jessup. Congratulations to the Pitch Conference winner (Pavel Kvatch), runner up (Katherine King) and honorable mentions (Morteza Rafiei, Niko Franghais, and Nancy Hua).
Later that day, Michael Holmes gave remarks ahead of a fantastic session from SAG-AFTRA. Attendees learned how SAG-AFTRA’s Hair and Makeup Equity Work Group and Black Beauty Roster work to create systemic change and build a pipeline of diverse talent. The panel assembled a talented group of thought leaders featuring Duncan Crabtree-Ireland (SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director), Maude Okrah (Co-founder and CEO, Black Beauty Roster), Michaele Angela Davis (Image Activist and Creator & Executive Producer, The Hair Tales on OWN and Hulu), and Yvette Urbina (VP, Content, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, North America, Warner Bros. Discovery).
more realistic to go to some online or cable service, and seriously cut their budget in accordance with that.“
AFM: Wrapping up
This year’s market was a wonderful opportunity to see the independent film market hard at work. We greatly appreciated having the opportunity to sit down with the industry in person. If you didn’t get a chance to meet Vision Media at AFM, contact us to schedule a demo. We would be happy to see how we can help ensure streamlined screening for your titles.