Movie posters line the lobby of Loews Hotel during a previous American Film Market. (File photo)

DOWNTOWN — If you see a bunch of strangers walking the streets over the next week, don’t be alarmed. They’re just guests of the American Film Market, the world’s largest where thousands of movie industry leaders from 70 countries gather to pitch their flicks in hopes of landing distributors and financing.

Over eight days the attendees are expected to pump $20 million into the local economy, according to officials with the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, which promotes the city by the sea abroad.

This is the 22nd straight year that the market has called Santa Monica home. Organizers last year flirted with the idea of moving the market to downtown Los Angeles in search of cheaper hotel room rates and state-of-the-art theaters to preview movies, but in the end opted to stay with Santa Monica after marketers voiced their opposition.

The American Film Market will remain in Santa Monica at least until 2017.

“This city-wide convention brings many benefits to our community, including good jobs and an economic boost during a typically off-peak season,” said Misti Kerns, president and CEO of the CVB. “In addition, it allows us to showcase Santa Monica to highly influential international travelers who seek the creative inspiration our destination evokes.”

To make sure those attending the market enjoy their stay, the CVB has partnered with local businesses to provide:

‚Ä¢ Complimentary Farmers’ Market produce at the market’s Buyers Lounge.

‚Ä¢ Hosted outdoor workouts showcasing Santa Monica’s “healthy lifestyle.”

• More than 40 different specials, offers and discounts to local attractions, bicycle rentals/tours, shopping and dining.

To learn more about market specials, visit

As has been the case in previous years, both the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and JW Marriot Santa Monica Le Merigot will be converted into busy marketplaces. All 23 screens on the Third Street Promenade and in the surrounding community will be transformed into AFM screening rooms during the daytime. In addition, eight digital and video screening rooms have been created at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot.

The market kicks off Oct. 31.

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