Far East firms boost biz at film mart AFM becomes Asian occasion

Asian companies are responsible for the significant growth at this year’s American Film Market.

The number of Asian firms with suites at this year’s AFM is 61, up from eight just five years ago.

“The growth story is mostly from non-English language movies and non-English language companies,” AFM chief Jonathan Wolf said Wednesday. “They would not be here if these films did not travel and weren’t becoming increasingly accepted around the world,” he noted.

The AFM this year has swelled to 435 exhibitor companies from 421 in 2005, necessitating the use of another floor in Le Merigot Hotel, next door to the mart’s hub in the Loews. The number of screenings has also grown to 592 this frame from 389 in 2003 and 534 last year.

Jean Prewitt, prexy-chief exec of AFM organizer the Independent Film & Television Alliance, said the volume of business being done by IFTA members has increased 6%-10% over the last year. “This really shows the strength if the indie business,” Prewitt said.

IFTA membership has grown to a similar extent, and org welcomed Meridian Films of Shanghai as its most recent member company. At the last board meeting, Hong Kong’s Albert Lee was elected to the board.

“We are also getting incredible interest this year from governments and NGOs. There is a really important delegation from China coming to the market this week to meet their opposite numbers in the business and to talk co-productions in China,” Prewitt said. Other Asian delegations at AFM include Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency, Japan External Trade Organization and India’s National Film Development Corp.

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