Swedes In Santa Monica To Look, But Mostly To Talk

War in the Persian Gulf or not, the Swedish AFM regulars are crossing the Atlantic this year.

However, most expect slim pickings and seem to use the trip more to meet people and discuss future projects.

“We seem to do most of our business between the different markets,” says Anders Bergholm of Svensk Filmindustri.

He is traveling to the AFM together with Lennart Wiklund, SF’s managing director.

Bergholm says: “We have been laying quite low for the last year when it comes to acquisitions. We have a large pile of films that are ready for release, and we don’t want to get too many. And there is, of course, the general situation of the economy to consider.”

Audience’s higher demands

The small but successful Sonet sends Peter Possne and Gunnar Bergstrom. Possne, the company’s managing director, says, “We have definitely no hesitations when it comes to going to the U.S. I think the fear of not daring to go on planes across the Atlantic is somewhat over exaggerated.

“For us, the big market lies in Europe,” Possne continues. “This means that we don’t really expect to find any big numbers at AFM. It’s difficult to find some good independent American films meant for cinema distribution. It’s easier to find them for video, but the demands are very high here, too, nowadays.

“I don’t have any great expectations to find useful American films, but on the other hand it might happen. It was at AFM that a Swedish company found ‘Sex, Lies And Videotape’ a few years back. So we’ll see what will happen.”

Planborg Films’ Conny and Birgitta Planborg are making the trip to Los Angeles. Birgitta Planborg says: “We tend to find quite a lot at AFM, even if most of it is still in script form when we make the deals. It was at AFM that we found and got “The Last Emperor,” for instance.

“We negotiate for new product, and I myself get to see more new films than I do in Cannes, for instance. I also think that with the event being moved to Santa Monica, it will mean quite a lot of positive things.”

Sandrews’ AFM travelers are Bertil Sandgren, Bertil Olsson and Staffan Wallem. From sister firm Sandrews-Metronome in Denmark come Henrik and Anne Fabricius-Bjerre and Jan Tielsen.

According to Sandgren, “AFM is important, definitely one of the most important markets. We look for films both for cinema and for video, and also for television.

“Of course, there is always competition from the majors, but I think we will manage to find good films. And it is very important with an independent market.

“I think there is still a possibility to find good films, and at AFM we can also find new European films that the European producers have brought there to screen for the American buyers. Even some of the big-budget productions can be found this way.”