The US tax break just signedinto law by returning President George W Bush could prove to be a windfall forindependent producers worth up to 16% of their movie budgets, claim the organisersof the American Film Market.

The production incentive,which was written into the Jumpstart Our Business Strength Act(JOBS), allows films of up to $15m to write off their entireproduction expenses within a year, provided that three quarters of the budgetis spent in the US.

"This will change the costof money," said Jean Prewitt, president and chief executive officer of the Independent Film &Television Alliance (IFTA). Although the precise legislative language has yet to befinalised, Prewitt predicted that the measure would prove a "meaningful" boonfor indie producers, particularly when combined with the local incentivesoffered now in around two-dozen US states.

IFTA, which lobbied Congressfor the tax break, has high hopes for this, the 25th AFM.Registrations point to record numbers of exhibitors, screenings and marketpremieres.

Among the buyingterritories, only Italy has shown a drop from the previous AFM - the result ofa backlash against Santa Monica for having effectively killed off Milan as theautumn rights-trading venue of international choice.