The American Film Market has unveiled its initial speakers, topics and programming calendar for AFM 2020 Online with sessions on Nov. 9-13 alongside the AFM’s marketplace and screenings.
The AFM’s opening conference — The Future of Film — will launch with Mark Gill, president and CEO of Solstice Studios, discussing how independent film, the marketplace and audience consumption will change in the near future. Elissa Federoff, president of distribution for Neon, will then discuss the future of feature film distribution and exhibition.
Gill had the first new film in theaters since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown with “Unhinged,” and Federoff made history for her company with four Academy Awards for “Parasite,” which became the third highest-grossing foreign language film ever released in the U.S.
This year’s lineup will take place wholly online and will bring 200 speakers to two stages for conferences, panels, conversations, workshops, podcasts and presentations. John Cena, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, John Sloss, Jeffrey Greenstein and Megan Colligan are among the high-profile participants.
AFM is one of the independent film industry’s key sales markets along with the European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival in February, the Cannes Film Festival in May and the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Cannes was shifted to a virtual festival this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and TIFF moved to a hybrid of physical screenings and virtual events.
AFM highlights include:
— Producing Without a Completion Bond featuring Jill Goldsmith, Co-Business Editor, Deadline; Brad Krevoy, CEO, Motion Picture Corporation of America; Brian O’Shea, CEO, The Exchange; and John Sloss, Founder, Cinetic Media.
— Pandemic Production Challenges & Solutions featuring Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32, Chris Moore, Producer, “Manchester by the Sea” and “Promised Land,” Celine Rattray, Partner & Producer, Maven Pictures, and Jennifer Westin, SVP, Production, MarVista Entertainment.
— Keep Calm and Carry On Filming presented in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) featuring Adrian Wootton, OBE, Chief Executive, Film London and the British Film Commission; Anna Mansi, Head of Certification, British Film Institute; Julia Oh, Senior Commissioning Executive, Film4; and Alison Thompson, Co-President, Cornerstone Films.
— Navigating Hollywood During COVID-19 : How To Find Success For Your Project During A Global Pandemic in partnership with the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and featuring Jen Barrett, Head of Entertainment, Creative Shop Facebook; Megan Colligan, President, IMAX Entertainment and EVP, IMAX Corp; Malik Ducard, VP of Content Partnerships; YouTube Mike Jackson, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Lifted Film Co.; and Gil L. Robertson IV, Co-Founder, African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA).
— What’s Working in the Pre-Sales Marketplace featuring Kimberly Fox, Partner & Head of International Sales, MadRiver International; Jeffrey Greenstein, President, Millennium Media; Jeremy Kay, Americas Editor, Screen International; and Nat McCormick, EVP, Worldwide Distribution, The Exchange.
— Low Budget Films with Huge Profit Potential featuring John Rhodes, Co-Founder, Screencraft; Nick Spicer, Partner, XYZ Films; and Zachary Tarica, CEO & Director, The Forest Road Co.
— Working with Sales Agents featuring Tamara Birkemoe, President, Foresight Unlimited; Clay Epstein, President, Film Mode Entertainment; and Jordan Yale Levine, Producer, Yale Productions.
— Global Sales and VOD presented in partnership with The Film Collaborative and featuring Wendy Bernfeld, Founder/CEO, Rights Stuff; Todd Olsson, President of International, Highland Film Group; Orly Ravid, Founder & Co-Executive Director, The Film Collaborative; and Attorney, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP; and Gabrielle Rozing, General Manager, Fortissimo Films.
— Deciphering Streaming Models & the Path to VOD Distribution featuring Audrey Delaney, SVP, Distribution & Worldwide Marketing, Blue Fox Entertainment; Bruce Eisen, President, Digital Advisors; Linda Nelson, CEO, Indie Rights; Lise Romanoff, CEO & Managing Director, Vision Films; and James Schamus, CEO, Symbolic Exchange.
— Navigating and Negotiating Intimacy on Set presented in partnership with SAG-AFTRA and featuring Amanda Blumenthal, Founder, Intimacy Professionals Association; Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA President; Jim Kleverweis, Executive Producer, Euphoria, Insecure and Silicon Valley; Alicia Rodis, Executive Team, Intimacy Directors and Coordinators; and David White, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director.
— Casting Global Talent: Who do Latinx Audiences Want to See? presented in partnership with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and featuring Aaron Ashford, Director of Development and Production, Pantelion Films; Liliana Espinoza, Projects Director, NALIP; and Carla Hool, Casting Director.
— A Conversation with Lloyd Kaufman: Make Your Own Damn Movie in 60 Minutes or Less!
— Facts Matter: Health & Science Accuracy Onscreen presented in partnership with USC Annenberg Hollywood, Health & Society and featuring its Program Director Kate Langrall Folb.
— The Black List Can Change Everything About How You Find Future Projects with The Black List’s Franklin Leonard, Founder & CEO and Terry Huang, Director of Product and Data.
— The Director / Producer Relationship featuring Shaked Berenson, CEO, Entertainment Squad; Gigi Saul Guerrero, Director / Actor, Culture Shock, The Purge (TV Series); Travis Stevens, Founder & CEO, Snowfort Pictures; and Lisa Whalen, Producer, Mandy, Color Out of Space.
For the first time, AFM will also spotlight five leading film industry podcasts with special episodes to take place on the AFM stages:
— The Producer’s Guide: Founder of Broken Road Productions, Producer and host Todd Garner and WWE wrestler turned actor John Cena will discuss Producing Comedy in Today’s Hollywood, A Serious Business.
— Show Don’t Tell: Director and host Noam Kroll and screenwriter Bryan Hill to talk Screenwriting on a Micro-Budget.
— The Filmmakers Podcast: Host Giles Alderson and producer/financier Ian Sharp on Making the Leap from Indie Films to Studio Features.
— Indie Film Hustle: Host Alex Ferrari and producer Franco Sama on Raising Money in a COVID World & The Future of Film Distribution.
— Film Riot: Host Ryan Connolly and writer/director Colin Levy to