DOWNTOWN — The American Film Market, one of the world’s largest gatherings of independent filmmakers and distributors, is set for Oct. 31 — Nov. 7 in Santa Monica.

The five-day conference series will occur at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and cover a range of topics including finances, marketing, pitches and micro-budget. This program allows its 700-plus attendees who come from over 70 countries to gain access to some of the industry’s leaders and decision makers.

“This makes the AFM Conference Series unique and invaluable,” Jonathan Wolf, executive vice president of the Independent Film & Television Alliance and managing director of the AFM, said of the event’s global aspect in a statement released Friday. “We are looking forward to building on the 2011 inaugural, sold-out event by exploring topics that are most relevant to global filmmakers.”

The Pitch Conference, which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, will discuss the many different aspects that make a good pitch. Attendees will learn the basic rules of pitching from experts and volunteers from the audience will practice pitching to a panel and receive honest, frank feedback.

In addition to the conferences, the AFM allows for production and distribution deals to be closed, and according to AFM organizers, more than $800 million can and will be made during these eight days.

Because of its location, the AFM also fuels the local economy, and many restaurants and stores offer discounts to AFM attendees and participants. The Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau estimated in 2011 that the market would contribute more than $100 million to the local economy over the next six years.

Visit the newly redesigned website at www.americanfilmmarket.com for more information.

news@smdp.com