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The American Film Market is Coming - February 19-26, 2003

February 17th, 2003

This year is turning out to be an amazing time for AFMA member companies.  From capturing all of the Academy Awards® Best Motion Picture of the Year nominations to walking away with all the top honors at the 60th annual Golden Globe Awards that took place January 19, 2003. 

Miramax contributed three of the Best Oscar Picture nominees, "Chicago," "Gangs of New York" and "The Hours" (a co-production with Paramount Studios) while New Line Cinema and Focus Features rounded out the list with "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "The Pianist," respectively.

At the Golden Globes, Miramax definitely was the big winner again.  Starting in no particular order with "Chicago" winning for Best Picture, Best Actor (Richard Gere) and Best Actress (Rene Zellweger) in the musical or comedy category.

They also came away with the Best Picture and Best Actress (Nicole Kidman) in the drama category for "The Hours" and won for "Gangs of New York" Best Director - Martin Scorsese, and Best Song - "The Hands That Built America" by U2).

And finally Miramax won for "Frida" best Original Score - Elliot Goldenthal).

The other winners were New Line Cinema for "About Schmidt" (Best Actor/Drama  - Jack Nicholson, and Best Screenplay - Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor),  Focus Films with Intermedia for "Adaptation" (Best Supporting Actress - Meryl Streep, and Best Supporting Actor - Chris Cooper),  Lions Gate and Focus Films and UGC for "Talk To Her" (Foreign-Language Film).

AFMA member films have also captured Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay honors from all of the major critics groups including the National Board of Review (NBR), the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC) and the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA).  In addition, AFMA member films have walk off with the majority of the acting awards, capturing 20 of the 24 major critics' honors for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. AFMA films have also secured five of the six honors for Best Documentary.


AFMA-member films taking multiple critical citations this year include:


“The Pianist” (Focus and Studiocanal)

·         BSFC: Best Picture, Best Director (Roman Polanski), Best Actor (Adrien Brody)

·         NSFC: Best Picture, Best Director (Roman Polanski), Best Screenplay (Ronald Harwood), Best Actor (Adrien Brody)

·         GG Nominations: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Drama (Adrien Brody),


“Adaptation” (Lions Gate and Intermedia)

·         TFCA: Best Picture, Best Actor (Nicolas Cage), Best Screenplay (Charlie and Donald Kaufman), Best Supporting Actor (Chris Cooper)

·         NYFCC: Best Screenplay (Charlie and Donald Kaufman)

·         LAFCA: Best Supporting Actor (Chris Cooper)

·         BSFC: Best Screenplay (Charlie and Donald Kaufman)

·         NBR: Best Supporting Actor (Chris Cooper), Screenwriter of the Year (Charlie Kaufman)

·         GG Nominations: Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy, Best Actor – Musical/Comedy (Nicolas Cage), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actor (Chris Cooper), Best Director (Spike Jonze), Best Screenplay (Charlie and Donald Kaufman)


“About Schmidt” (New Line)

·         LAFCA: Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor), Best Actor (Jack Nicholson)

·         NBR: Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates)

·         GG Nominations: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Drama (Jack Nicholson), Best Supporting Actress (Kathy Bates), Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Screenplay (Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor)


“Far From Heaven” (Focus)

·         NYFCC: Best Picture, Best Director (Todd Haynes), Best Cinematography (Edward Lachman), Best Supporting Actor (Dennis Quaid), Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Clarkson)

·         LAFCA: Best Actress (Julianne Moore), Best Cinematography (Edward Lachman)

·         NSFC: Best Cinematography (Edward Lachman), Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Clarkson)

·         BSFC: Best Cinematography (Edward Lachman)

·         NBR: Best Actress (Julianne Moore)

·         GG Nominations: Best Actress – Drama (Julianne Moore), Best Supporting Actor (Dennis Quaid), Best Screenplay (Todd Haynes)


“The Hours” (Miramax)

·         NBR: Best Picture

·         LAFCA: Best Actress (Julianne Moore)

·         BSFC: Best Supporting Actress (Toni Collette)

·         GG Nominations: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actress – Drama (Nicole Kidman), Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris), Best Director (Stephen Daldry), Best Screenplay (David Hare)


“Gangs of New York” (Miramax)

·         LAFCA: Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis)

·         NYFCC: Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis)

·         GG Nominations: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Drama (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Cameron Diaz), Best Director (Martin Scorsese)


As if that is not enough, members also have swept the Best Nonfiction Film awards.  NYFCC and NSFC gave the prize to “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” (Artisan), NBR and TFCA to “Bowling for Columbine” (Alliance Atlantis), and BSFC to “The Kid Stays in the Picture” (Focus and Svensk Filmindustri).


For those who don’t know yet, The American Film Market is the world’s largest independent film sales bazaar.  The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel located near some beautiful California shoreline real estate is converted into a busy marketplace where hotel rooms become sales offices for movie companies, and all 23 screens on the Santa Monica Promenade and the surrounding community become AFM screening rooms for the entire eight-day event.


AFMA is the trade association for the independent film and television industry. Its global membership distributes and often produces the films and programs made apart from the seven major studios. AFMA members generate more than $4 billion annually in worldwide distribution revenues.


This event started out mostly with B and even worse rated cheap films.  Now it has grown into a world-class event with multiple award-wining movies that range budget wise from very low to big expensive studio releases.   These movies are all meant to generate profit from exploitation in theaters and television around the world as well as from DVD and other potential revenue sources depending on the film.


Even thought the second rate schlock is still available in quantity, there is no denying the AFM has come a long way with the increase of top notch quality films both in prestige and box office available this year.


According to the American Film Marketing Association, the organization provides a suite of cost-effective services to independent film and television companies that are unique in the industry.  Services include: worldwide copyright royalty collections, arbitration procedures for dispute resolution, licensing support, market research, and umbrella booths at key film and TV markets, including the American Film Market, produced by AFMA.


For the first time, The AFM Producer Screenings, designed to showcase independently produced feature films seeking a worldwide distributor or sales agent will be launched on February 26, the last day of the AFM.


Only 20 films from 20 different producers will be shown at private market screenings, providing filmmakers the opportunity to reach up to 200 distributors in a single day.  Their selection process will give preference to films that have had the least amount of exposure, thus assuring the greatest interest from acquisition executives.  Both feature-length narrative and documentary films will be considered.


"This is a unique opportunity for producers to present their just completed films at the largest gathering of acquisition executives in the world," said Jonathan Wolf, managing director of the AFM and executive vice president of AFMA . "It's part of the AFMa' s continuing commitment to delivering global audiences to films produced outside the studio system."


The 23rd annual American Film Market, which runs February 19-26, will screen 402 films of basically every type of genre and style available anywhere.  There will be over 300 companies selling films and other services with thousands of buyers competing with each other to grab the best product first.  Well at least those who can afford some of the high prices the hot product will be going for.  

While attendance at most AFM screenings is limited to acquisitions and distribution executives, a section of AFM screenings, the AFM Premiere Screenings, is open to the entire entertainment industry and Santa Monica residents. The AFM provides complimentary AFM Premiere Screenings passes to members of all entertainment industry organizations and Santa Monica residents. 

So if you love movies and want to see a lot of them for free this is your chance because the 2003 AFM Premiere Screenings will feature over 50 independent films - most world or U.S. premieres.

All this momentum is creating excitement and big expectations for good business both from buyers and sellers at the American Film Market where anything can happen.

Clearly 2003 is starting out with great success for some fortunate AFMA member companies that along with their colleagues can't wait to carry this good fortune into the American Film Market in February and beyond.


To find out more information about the AFM which runs February 19-26, 2003 you can visit them at, or call them at (310) 446-1000.

Gil Benzeevi

Source: American Film Market