With a month to go before the American Film Market (AFM), Screen has learned the event’s organiser Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) has struck a multi-year deal with Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica and will not return to the former Loews site.
It emerged in January that The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel paused operations after it did not renew its lease with owner Strategic Hotels and the new tenant IHG Hotels And Resorts closed the venue for renovations.
According to a report in Santa Monica Mirror IHG will reopen the site later this year as Regent Santa Monica Beach.
IFTA confirmed to Screen on Thursday there was no new deal with IHG and said it had struck a multi-year arrangement with Le Meridien Delfina several blocks inland to host the AFM.
The Loews hotel hosted the market for the past 30 years following a number of years at Beverly Hilton.
In its early days AFM was a renowned video market, but as the industry changed the packaged goods business faded away and independent sales companies embraced larger feature projects and a new business model.
The Loews as a venue for conducting business lost its peculiar allure, with market attendees often citing high prices and a dreary atmosphere as the main drawbacks. Some of the larger sales outfits switched to renting beachside residences to conduct business.
It is understood IFTA and AFM top brass are high on Le Meridien Delfina and believe it will give the market a new lease of life. Shuttle buses will run from the location to screening venues on Third Street Promenade and other meeting points close to the beachfront.
AFM runs October 31-November 5.