AFCI tackles financing

Expanded event adds new forums, web components

As the number of production incentive programs has grown, so has the AFCI Locations Trade Show. Last year's installment was the biggest ever, with representatives from 240 film commissions around the globe on hand and more than 4,000 people attending. This year's event at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium -- which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday -- is on track for another record-breaking turnout.

"The attendees come from across the spectrum," AFCI communications manager Kevin Clark says. "The producers and production executives can talk about the financial resources that are there, and then the directors can talk about the specific locations and looks they're going for."

This year's show adds a new wrinkle to the proceedings with its first-ever Pitch Camp, co-sponsored by Indie GoGo, an online platform for filmmakers seeking financing. Five preselected finalists will be given five minutes each to pitch their projects to a panel of industry judges, including Ravi Mehta, senior vp physical production at Warner Bros., and Josh Welsh, director of talent development at Film Independent. The judges will give each project feedback on the quality of the story, the promotional campaign and the pitch delivery, then pick a winner who will receive $4,000 in prizes.

Also new are the Financial Forums, taking place today and Friday, a series of presentations that will give attendees the chance to have in-depth conversations with a selection of individual film commissions away from the madding crowd on the auditorium floor.

"Filmmakers come empowered with a lot more knowledge now," Clark says. "They have a set of questions and expectations. When they go and talk to a film commission, they're pretty specific about what they're looking for."
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