Film News Roundup: AFM Assures Attendees Santa Monica Remains Fire-Free

In today’s film news roundup, AFM tells attendees that Santa Monica isn’t burning, the LA Film Critics honor Elaine May and MarketCast hires a Nielsen executive.


With less than a week before the American Film Market opens in Santa Monica, AFM has assured attendees that the beachside city has not been hit by the region’s wildfires.

The Getty Fire near the Getty Museum is the closest fire. The blaze, which ignited on Oct. 28, is about seven miles away from AFM headquarters at the Loews Hotel. It has now burned more than 700 acres, forcing evacuations from more than 7,000 homes.

“We would like to assure you that there are no fires in Santa Monica,” AFM said in a message. “Some media have referred to fires in the ‘Santa Monica Mountains.’ This mountain range is actually in Los Angeles, miles from Santa Monica. There is no threat to the Santa Monica business area.”

“You are welcome to view live video of Santa Monica and the AFM campus at PacPark.com/santa-monica-pier-live-cams/pier/ and PacPark.com/santa-monica-pier-live-cams/wheel/. To see the current air quality in the region, visit https://bit.ly/34dUZtc,” the organization added. “We wish you safe travels and look forward to welcoming you to the 40th American Film Market!”

AFM opens on Nov. 6 and runs through Nov. 13. More than 7,000 industry professionals are expected to attend.


The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has chosen actress/writer/director Elaine May as the recipient of this year’s Career Achievement Award.

The award will be given at the organization’s annual awards dinner on Jan. 11 at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City. LAFCA’s other top awards will be decided by the membership on Dec. 8 and those winners will be honored along with May at the January event.

May directed “A New Leaf,” “The Heartbreak Kid,” “Mikey and Nicky” and “Ishtar.” She was nominated for the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for “Heaven Can Wait” and “Primary Colors” and acted in films including “Enter Laughing,” “California Suite,” “In the Spirit” and “Small Time Crooks.” She won the 2019 Tony Award for best lead actress in a play in “The Waverly Gallery” and received the National Medal of Arts in 2013.

“Elaine May is a legend,” said LAFCA president Claudia Puig. “A brilliant multi-talented artist, she has brightened our lives with her extraordinarily funny body of work and has moved us with her collaborations with Nichols, Cassavetes and Beatty and, most recently, her Tony Award-winning turn on stage. We’re grateful for all her wonderful artistry, including her often uncredited, but essential, screenplay contributions.”


MarketCast Group has named veteran executive Graham McKenna as its chief marketing officer.

McKenna will head up MarketCast’s brand, product marketing, and communications efforts across its portfolio of data and analytics products and services.

McKenna comes to MarketCast from Nielsen, where he served as senior vice president of product marketing and was responsible for Nielsen’s product marketing efforts across its media measurement, sports, music, and metadata portfolio. He joined Nielsen following its acquisition of Gracenote, where he led the marketing and communications team and strategy through a period including acquisitions by Tribune Media and Nielsen.

“Graham is a world-class communicator and product marketer, and his experience in the data, technology, and entertainment space will be invaluable as we expand our product portfolio and position MarketCast for aggressive growth,” said John Batter, CEO of MarketCast Group. “Graham will be invaluable for scaling our marketing and communications efforts and imagining new ways to package and deliver our amazing research and data to clients.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rita And Tom Hanks Coronavirus

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Return to U.S. After Coronavirus Diagnosis in Australia

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back home in the U.S. after they revealed they had contracted coronavirus and were quarantined in Australia. Hanks gave an update on Twitter Saturday morning, thanking everyone who had helped them in Australia and assuring people that they are still isolating themselves in the U.S. “Hey, folks…We’re home now [...]

  • Film Comment Magazine Goes on Hiatus

    Film Comment Magazine to Go on Hiatus as Film at Lincoln Center Lays Off Half of Staff

    Many companies are being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Film at Lincoln Center is the latest organization to have to lay off employees and pause some of their operations. On Friday, executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing that the center had to furlough or lay off about half of its [...]

  • "Birds of Prey" egg sandwich

    'Birds of Prey' Actor Bruno Oliver Recreates Harley Quinn's Famous Sandwich

    When actor Bruno Oliver booked the role of short order cook Sal in “Birds of Prey: (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” he had no idea how significant Sal and his breakfast sandwich were to the story. “You couldn’t tell from the audition necessarily and as actors, we always worry about our scenes [...]

  • Minyan

    'Minyan': Film Review

    Best known for the unexpectedly soul-shattering San Francisco suicide doc “The Bridge,” indie filmmaker Eric Steel came out and came of age in 1980s New York at a moment just before AIDS devastated the city’s gay community. Such timing must have been surreal, to assume something so liberating about one’s own identity, only to watch [...]

  • Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches

    Film New Roundup: Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches North American Distribution

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Queen’s Corgi” finds a home, the Overlook Film Festival is postponed and the California Film Commission adjusts its tax credit rules due to the coronavirus. ACQUISITION Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the animated family comedy feature “The Queen’s Corgi,” and plans to make it available on DVD and to [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Sets Salary Cuts and Furloughs in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

    Following in the steps of several agencies dealing with the coronavirus, APA has informed all offices of upcoming salary cuts along with possible suspensions and furloughs for employees due to the pandemic’s economic effect on the industry. APA board of directors will make the largest financial sacrifice. The move has been made to avoid layoffs [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content