American Film Market 2011: Preview - Sierra/Affinity

Coming off busy Berlin, Cannes and Toronto markets, Sierra/Affinity co-founder Nick Meyer is looking to keep up the pace at AFM.

The former Paramount Vantage and Lionsgate exec, who launched Sierra Pictures in 2009 and merged with Affinity earlier this year, typically handles the type of prestige pics that were once the domain of studios’ specialty labels.

With the majors largely retreating from that business, companies like Sierra/Affinity are finding their films to be in greater demand than ever. Meyer, who will be peddling product that is still coalescing in Santa Monica, says he expects a robust AFM.

“We have three to five projects on the stove, but there are a lot of moving pieces, and probably only two to three will come together,” says Meyer, who anticipates the films will be shooting early next year. “Our expectation is we’ll successfully launch the product that we bring.”

If Sierra/Affinity’s previous slate is any indication, look for films like the corrupt cop thriller “Rampart,” starring Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver and Robin Wright; and the Bradley Cooper-Ryan Gosling vehicle “The Place Beyond the Pines” — both of which sold briskly at Toronto.

The company, which handles an average of 12 films per year and acts as the exclusive sales agent for films developed and produced by Sidney Kimmel, OddLot, Bold Films and Incentive Filmed Entertainment, boasted two of the hottest titles at Cannes with sci-fi pic “Ender’s Game” and Jason Statham starrer “Parker,” both of which nearly sold out across most territories.

Sierra/Affinity will also unveil Lawrence Kasdan’s latest effort, “Darling Companion,” with Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline.

“There’s been this perception that (AFM is) the sideshow of the movie business,” Meyer says. “But I think it has really evolved. I think people are really starting to get (the importance of) territorial sales in putting all sorts of independently financed movies together.”

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