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Lobbyists push lions and snakes at Loews

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The American Film Market just wouldn't be the AFM without the so-called lobbyists.

They are the guys who've earned that moniker because of their use of the Loews hotel as one all-mighty pitching floor. And this year's potpourri of players is as mixed and as colorful as ever.

An urban Kung Fu fighter, a fully finished juiced-up rap drama with Fredro Starr and a yet-to-be-made horror flick about a half-woman, half-spider are among the titles boosted by the lobbyists.

Penned by L.A. based martial arts expert and filmmaker Mark Hoadley, "Mark of the Cobra" is being put together by husband and wife team Mark and Sheila Hoadley. The married duo is busy here pulling together the financing for their $2.5 million passion project.

Sheila Hoadley said she felt there was "more respect" for the producers presenting to people from the lobby.

And her project has something else on its side. It will be directed by Art Camacho, whose most recent directing duty "Confessions of Pit Fighter" won the eyes and ears of Lionsgate for DVD distribution.

One of the hallmarks of the lobbyists is the way that top-tier projects sit cheek-by-jowl alongside pics from, er, the lesser lights. While anticipated pics such as Marcus Nispel's reboot of "Conan" attracts attention from serious buyers,  lobby visitors are also accosted by the latest cinematic output from the likes of Dolph Lundgren ("Icarus"), Eric Roberts ("Enemies Among Us") and Kevin Farley ("Hollywood & Vine").

Meanwhile, sex, just as it does everywhere outside the Loews, sells. On one side of the atrium, amid the giant potted fronds and below big screens displaying showreels from AFM suite 211, a couple of unashamedly sexily dressed chicks in high-heeled boots stalk around dishing out flyers for "The Next Hit."

The duo told THR the glamorous look was a sure -ire way to get people to stop and chat about the project.

Writer David Garvin, who also acts as exec producer on the movie produced by JC Fentz Louis, said traffic was boosted by the efforts in the foyer.

"But the most work is done months before the AFM. You send out clips and fliers a month before it starts and people will read them. Send them an email a day before the market and you'll likely be ignored," Garvin said. His $1 million finished film reveals a twist at the end of the drama on a par with the reveal in "The Usual Suspects," which separates it from other movies using the East Coast/West Coast rap feud as a backdrop, he said. "It's a drama with a twist rather than just guns and bling," he added. The project screened a couple of months back at the Nashville International Black Film Festival.

Clearly it's the lobby girls that provide the AFM bling of its own.

Going all out for the sexiness sells is the team behind "Spiderella," a project from Canadian-based producer Maurice Smith with help from L.A.-based company Prestige Marketing Group.

Smith and Prestige have actresses Raven Lexy and Andrea Savoporos in for the weekend to help drum up interest for the horror flick about a half-woman, half-spider found by a character named Hunter Thompson in his own woods.

Lexy and Savoporos have been promised roles in the movie, set to shoot next year.

Prestige's Nicole Kohnen, an associate producer on the project, said the short-skirted, fishnet clad actresses were charged with working the room for the weekend.

Steve Zeitchik contributed to the report.
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