“People have told me, ‘It’s about time,'” said AFM managing director Jonathan Wolf. “The lobby of the Loews is a place for business, for people who have spent thousands of dollars to get here, not for someone who took a $6 Uber ride to get to the Loews.”
As to the business itself, Wolf asserts that the indie sector is filling the void left behind by studios for new mid-budget projects. “The studios are becoming more like TV with spinoffs and sequels, so creativity has found other angles,” he said.
John Friedberg, president of international sales for STX, said at the AFM’s Producer and Financier Perspective event, “There are going to be so many ways to consume content immediately on every device so the question is ‘How do you curate your time and what stands out?’”
Paramount’s exec VP of worldwide acquisitions Syrinthia Studer noted at Friday’s Buyer Perspective panel that “Book Club” had worked well following its unveiling at last year’s AFM as worldwide box office topped $68 million. She said the proliferation of platforms allows independent filmmakers to get exposure to a broader audience, adding, “It’s good for filmmakers and it’s good for content, and the marketplace is big enough for everyone to thrive.”
AFM is expecting more than 7,000 attendees from more than 80 countries during the eight days of the market.
And potentially appealing packages emerged during the first days of AFM: Dakota Fanning in immigrant drama “Sweetness in the Belly” for HanWay; Milla Jovovich and Tom Hughes in swashbuckler “Corto Maltese”; John Malkovich, Michael Kenneth Williams and Vivica A. Fox joining Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn in drug drama “Arkansas”; Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman in AGC’s thriller “The Secrets We Keep”; Chloë Grace Moretz and Jack O’Connell in the Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow story “Love Is a Gun”; and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Connie Nielsen in the thriller “The Postcard Killings.”