AFM in networking mode

Overall attendance was up 6%

The number of sellers may have been down 7% at this year’s American Film Market, while buyers were even, but overall attendance was up 6% as the annual event evolves into a networking hub.

AFM organizers are reporting a surge in the number of non-buyers and non-sellers registering for the event, a group that includes producers and financiers.

A total of 7,695 people attended the 2010 installment of AFM, compared to 7,246 in 2009. The market got underway Nov. 3, and concludes today.

Buyers remained nearly on par with last year at 1,417. Buying companies rose 1% to 664 from 658.

Sellers decreased to 343 in an across-the-board decline, with no major shifts among territories.

The dip in sellers is seen as a positive development, both by AFM organizers and the industry at-large, since it means there is no longer a glut of product fueled by an abundance of private equity money looking to get into the film biz.

“The positive feeling in the halls is a direct result of production levels that are now in balance with marketplace demand,” said AFM managing director and IFTA exec VP Jonathan Wolf.

IFTA chairman Lloyd Kaufman, head of Troma Entertainment, told Daily Variety that he’s been pleased that AFM appears to be attracting younger filmmakers.

“We want to offer as much encouragement as we can to new people starting out, particularly at a time of consolidation among the major studios,” he added.

There were 427 films from more than 36 countries screened during the market, including 43 world premieres, 306 market premieres and 21 films screened in 3D.

Attendees from countries in the European Union made up the largest block, with 28.72%, while 24.56% were from Asia and 21.45% from North America.

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