A cautious thumbs up at American Film Market

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The buyers don't want to talk about hot titles in case competitors get wind of them, and sellers are frustrated with slow-moving acquisitions execs who are hanging on for cheaper deals.

But as the annual exodus of attendees began Sunday afternoon, sellers who arrived with glossy slates and the hope things are getting rosier seemed satisfied with the level of activities.

Whether it is Icon Entertainment U.K. enjoying the comfort of substantial financial backing and a subsequent burst in market activity, or brisk traffic at Brit shops such as the Works International, Bankside Films, Ealing Studios International and other European banners including Bavaria Film International, the American Film Market could be regarded as successful.

But the whole marketplace definitely had a cloud of caution and seriousness hanging over it. Even at the usually raucous end of the dealing day, cocktail parties such as Saturday night's party thrown by U.S. sales banner Lightning Entertainment, remained a place for serious analysis of the economic fallout.

"Make no mistake about it," Lightning Entertainment co-president Richard Guardian said, "there is going to be more blood on the floor before it is over."

And this year more than ever, the big acquisition cheeses from the more established nonstudio distribution businesses such as France's Metropolitan, the U.K.'s Entertainment and Germany's Kinowelt have all been wearing out the shoe leather in the Loews.

And for Asia, it was game on for wheeling and dealing with Korean companies Mirovision, CJ Entertainment and Showbox all striking deals to take movies across the region.

Mirovision reported late Sunday that it struck a major deal to transport "Lifting KingKong" into Hong Kong and China with Golden Harvest. And Mirovision vp, international business Erica Nam said there were good offers on the table from Japan for the title.

Nam struck the deal to parachute the picture into China with Golden Harvest senior vp Belinda Tang.

Mirovision also noted its high profile remake of "The Housemaid," directed by Im Sangsoo with Cannes-winning actress Jeon Doyeon is attracting a lot of presale interest.
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