Magic Box

Source: Magic Box @ The REEF

Magic Box

The organiser behind an industry convention launching in downtown Los Angeles in October claims its film market and expo component will fill the void left by relocation of American Film Market to Las Vegas.

American Film Convention (AFC) will be officially unveiled on Wednesday and CEO and founder Mitesh Patel claims it will “supplement rather than supplant” existing markets and events and “vault to the forefront of the global film industry and return that focus to the entertainment epicentre of the world, Los Angeles, California”.

Running October 15-17 at the Magic Box event venue in DTLA, the convention will comprise on-site screenings of “scrappy independents to studio fare”, workshops, pitch sessions, conference speakers, a products and services showcase, a money market to connect filmmakers with investors, and, perhaps most intriguingly, an auction.

Slamdance Film Festival co-founder and former AFI Fest director Jon Fitzgerald will serve as director of workshops and conferences and is assembling a roster of “seasoned industry professionals” to lead hands-on workshops. No names had been announced at time of writing.

Independent film industry sources who talked to Screen and typically do their year-end business at the American Film Market (AFM) either said they had not heard of the convention, and almost all said they would not attend. They doubted any member of Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), which organises the AFM, would see any need to attend.

One source speculated it might be a draw for buyers of day badges at AFM who attend seminars and may lack the resources to travel to Las Vegas. Another noted that while the convention seemed ambitious, they wished it well.

Patel, a producer and founder of full-service production company Applied Art Productions who also serves as CEO of Chandler International Film Festival in Arizona, said the convention would foster an environment where “creativity and commerce converge, and where the seeds of collaboration sprout into groundbreaking cinematic achievements”.

Information to be released on Wednesday said, “Filling the local gap left by the decamping of Los Angeles’ former film market to Las Vegas, AFC provides an opportunity for domestic and foreign producers to showcase their titles to buyers and distributors.” Screen first reported that AFM was moving from Santa Monica to Las Vegas.

The event offers will unfold in more than 100,000 sq ft of exhibition space and Patel says it has room for 400 exhibitors and participants, and expected the convention to draw around 5,000 delegates in its first year.

According to AFC representatives, the film auction will accelerate the process of film acquisition, ensuring that filmmakers and buyers “get better value and less friction from their transactions”. No further details were available at time of writing although the wording may indicate an absence of film sales companies.

The convention will also enable filmmakers to learn about innovative post-production tools, and provide a space for actors and filmmakers to talk directly about casting opportunities.