American Film Market Unveils Shorter Schedule

Courtesy of IFTA

For 2020, the independent film market in Santa Monica will start earlier and end sooner, a concession to industry demands.

In a move certain to receive widespread support from a cost-conscious indie film industry, the American Film Market is getting shorter.

In a bid to “provide the most efficient and productive business environment” the AFM announced it would move from an eight-day to a six-day schedule starting this year. The 2020 American Film Market will start earlier, Tuesday, Nov. 3, and finish Saturday, Nov. 8.

Traditionally the AFM has started on a Wednesday and run a full eight days through to the following Wednesday. For several years now, attendees have complained the weeklong schedule is impractical and inefficient, as it forces executives outside L.A. to block a full two weeks for the event, to account for travel to and from Santa Monica, where the AFM is held. Attendance at the market has declined in recent years, also as a result of disruption within the independent film industry.

“This new AFM schedule is tailored to best serve the industry by allowing participants who travel from around the world to better maximize their time and costs,” said Michael Ryan, partner at GFM Films and chairperson of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, the trade association that organizes the AFM.

“While the film industry has changed drastically since we first launched AFM [in 1981] markets are essential as this remains a face-to-face business,” Ryan added. “Markets serve as a launching pad for new films and projects and they bring the entire industry together to share marketplace intelligence.”

Despite the tightened schedule, the 2020 AFM is not planning to cut any of its events, including industry conferences, its market screenings or the LocationEXPO, where independent producers are paired with regional financiers and facilities worldwide.

The AFM will also be staying put at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, which will continue to serve as the show’s headquarters. IFTA announced dates for the market through 2024, as follows: 2020: Nov. 3-8; 2021: Nov. 2-7; 2022: Nov. 1-6; 2023: Oct. 31-Nov. 5; 2024: Nov. 5-10.

IFTA will unveil further details on this year's market over the coming months.