A presidential thumbs up

AFM reactions mostly positive to Obama win

Barack Obama's decisive victory in the race to the White House gave the first day of the AFM on Wednesday a slightly more optimistic sheen than many expected going into a market staged amid the global financial crisis.

IFTA president and CEO Jean Prewitt said in the opening-day news conference that she was confident the president-elect would be sympathetic to the needs of her membership.

"Today is an historic day," Prewitt said. "(Obama) is clearly in favor of broad diversity in the media." She said it was up to IFTA and her membership to keep a "vibrant presence" on Washington's media-lawmaking agenda.

Said Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen: "I don't know how or whether it affects the entertainment business, except that we imagine that life in America will improve and hopefully all boats will rise."

For the international players, Obama's victory seemed to be a popular outcome.

Entertainment attorney Patricia Mayer of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, who every year during AFM hosts a series of home-cooked dinner parties for her international mix of clients, said the result was a boost.

"If you can trust the economy and trust the business and culture of a place, then it's easier to do business with a place," she said. "Whether it's financing or distribution, you feel that people who are positive about a culture are more positive then about us as a filmmaking culture and as an economy. I woke up smiling today, and that makes people want to do business."

Leslie Simmons, Gregg Goldstein and Liza Foreman contributed to this report.