AFM pic count falls but space sells out

Event to unspool 379 films, host 291 exhibitors

The 24th American Film Market, the annual independent film market, has sold out of exhibition space ahead of the Feb. 25-March 3 event in Santa Monica.

The AFM will unspool 379 films in 28 languages, 246 of which are market premieres during the weeklong event. Last year 402 pics screened.

Though the number of films is down for the 2004 market, the number of companies screening films is up on last year.

This year AFM will host 291 film and TV exhibitors, including 88 first- timers — an increase of 14% over last year’s total of 261.

However, buyers’ attrition was pegged at around 2% a year over the past five years.

Both AFMA president and CEO Jean Prewitt and AFMA exec VP and AFM managing director Jonathan Wolf characterized the indie film sector as demonstrating “vitality” this year despite a turbulent past few years for the international sales business.

“The strong response to this year’s AFM … affirms that the resourceful, innovative and creative entrepreneur represented by our membership has a commanding position in the worldwide entertainment industry,” Prewitt said.

AFMA chiefs would not comment on their November market, saying logistical details would not be discussed until after the February/March event.

Among the films screening are such Sundance buzz titles as HBO’s “Maria Full of Grace,” Filmax Intl.’s “The Machinist” and Lee Daniels Prods.’ “The Woodsman,” and other titles “Country of My Skull,” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche, and UGC Intl.’s “Blueberry.”

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