Mixed Reviews for Asian Film Market on First Day

Badge pricing and new location cited as reasons for change in traffic patterns.

BUSAN, South Korea -- Buyers and exhibitors at the Asian Film Market expressed mixed feelings as the trade show opened, moving to the Busan Exhibition and Convention Centre (BEXCO) after five years at the Seacloud Hotel.

The biggest change was the new BEXCO space. “The layout this year really helps,” said Amuse Films distribution head Yeunhee Chang. “We’re a relatively new company, and don’t know that many buyers, so some buyers might be intimated if they have to walk into a hotel room of people they don’t know.  But this layout is more open, and they can just drop by.”

"It's been great," said Haruko Watanabe from Gaga, a Japanese film company, who visited AFM in the past. "The space is sparse. It feels empty because the space is so big. The traffic has been a hassle. But luckily the taxi fare in Busan is cheap." The company has gotten steady offers from buyers but no deals yet. 

Some visitors have commented that traffic appears to be down compared to earlier years, although some believe it may be an optical illusion, spreading attendees out over a larger space, rather than in the hotel.

Higher badge presses for this year were available for $70 early bird, or now, during the event, $200 at the door.

"I think the number of buyers are quite the same compared to previous years," said Gwen Jung, who handles sales for CJ Entertainment and is in Busan with a line-up of Korean films including Hindsight and Punch. "The meetings are consistent and we've been getting some offers in the last two days."

"I am a bit concerned about the traffic," said Nina Jung, Senior Manager of International Affairs for Seoul Film Commission. "I find there are less people this year perhaps because the badge has gotten more expensive. Before, you could just walk into BIFCOM and meet with the buyers. And most people want to stay near the beach."

One participant noted that sales traffic at AFM is not traditionally high, with Tokyo's TIFFCOM and American Film Market both coming up within a month.

“Traditionally, at the Asian Film Market, buyers don’t come here with an intention to buy,” said one Hong Kong exhibitor.  “They just want to go to parties and catch up with industry friends.”

“What’s different this year, is that because of the new BEXCO venue and the new Busan Cinema Center, there are so many parties every night, it really affects the foot traffic in the mornings,” the exhibitor added.

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