AFM to Put Spotlight on Immersive Content and Technology

American Film Market in 2014 - Getty - H 2018
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The American Film Market will dedicate exhibition space to virtual and extended reality producers and is adding a new industry summit focused on immersive technology.

The American Film Market, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, is taking a look at the possible high-tech future of content with a focus on immersive technology.

AFM organizers have cleared out a separate space at the 2019 market for creatives, producers and technology companies operating in the booming Extended Reality (XR) industry. The new XR Space will be located at AFM headquarters in the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica and run alongside the AFM's film market and location expo Nov. 9-12.

The AFM is also adding a new industry summit focused on XR. The inaugural Immersive Summit, presented by Winston Baker, will take place Nov. 9 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. The half-day summit is planned as both an educational and collaborative event for newcomers and veterans of the XR industry and will feature keynotes and panel discussions on the challenges of bringing immersive content to market.

"The rapid developments in immersive technology are creating opportunities for artists, producers and entrepreneurs," said AFM managing director Jonathan Wolf. "The Immersive Summit is a perfect fit for our global participants who seek a glimpse into their future."

"As the AR/VR industry matures, it’s crucial to provide a platform which supports immersive projects from development to distribution," added Winston Baker co-founders Katherine Winston and Amy Baker.

The move, announced Wednesday, is part of a larger rebranding of the AFM as the indie film market adjusts to major disruption in the industry, much of it driven by digital technology. The AFM was founded during the home video boom but that business is largely gone or going fast, replaced by online-only releases and an increasingly precarious theatrical industry.

At its 2018 event, the AFM was keen to present itself as a partner for movies with theatrical potential. Adding VR and augmented reality to the mix is an acknowledgment that the film business is changing and new models are needed. Some, perhaps, may be on display at the Loews this November.