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Foreign sales fretting

Seminar panelists say recovery slow

Indie companies fretted about weak foreign prices and worried that the sector’s few bright spots may be overheating at an American Film Market seminar Friday.

ContentFilm president John Schmidt lamented there’s only “a modest recovery from the pits of 18 months ago.”

Russia is a sudden hot spot of film buying, noted Motion Picture Corp. of America CEO Brad Krevoy, though he questioned if the trend will be sustained in that second-tier territory. The big territories of Western Europe and Japan are experiencing an uneven recovery.

The horror film genre is making a strong comeback at AFM, but seminar moderator Stephen Saltzman, a partner at law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, worried “there is a risk of oversaturation” from a glut of scary movies.

Krevoy said the lackluster recovery for indie film prices is surprising given that foreign buyers enjoy a currency advantage when paying for film buys with the weak U.S. dollar.

He added that buyers may be reacting to soft sales to TV channels in their home territories as reality TV shows are gobbling up time periods that used to go to films.

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