Jonas Rosenfield, former president of the American Film Marketing Assn., who was responsible for that market’s success, died Wednesday in his sleep at his home in Pacific Palisades. He was 84.
As leader of the marketing group, Rosenfield will be remembered for helping independent film producers compete with the major studios by developing the American Film Market, an annual event held in Santa Monica.
Rosenfield, a 60-year veteran of the entertainment business, joined the marketing association in 1983 as executive director and was named its first paid president in 1985. He held that position until his retirement two years ago.
Under his leadership, the American Film Market grew tenfold and now features more than 300 exhibiting companies.
Rosenfield told the Los Angeles Times upon his retirement in 1998, “The quality of film is going up. It used to be mostly exploitative films. Buyers today don’t want this kind of product as much.”
A native of Texas, Rosenfield began his career in 1936 in the Warner Bros. advertising department. He would subsequently become a senior marketing executive for Columbia Pictures and later served as vice president in charge of advertising, publicity and exploitation for 20th Century Fox.
A lifelong fan of foreign films, he served for many years on the committee that nominated foreign-language films for Oscars.
Rosenfield’s work with the marketing association helped foster the growth of independent films by creating new standards for how they did business. The association created model contracts for film sales, lobbied for international copyright protection, created a system to evaluate the credit ratings of buyers and established an arbitration system to settle disputes between distributors and producers.
The standardization helped independent U.S. companies sell movies abroad and obtain bank financing for projects.
Rosenfield is survived by his wife, Nina Green, and a daughter, Carolyn.