AFM: The Loews hotel is the hub of AFM activity in Santa Monica. Courtesy photos

Santa Monica is rolling out the red carpet to welcome the Independent Film & Television Alliance’s banner event back to town this year. The American Film Market (AFM) has returned this week for the first time since going virtual in 2020.

The six-day event, running now through Nov. 6, welcomes a wide array of film industry professionals from more than 225 companies covering a diverse range of specialties including sales, production and distribution. Nine out of 10 films produced the world over are financed, produced and/or distributed by AFM participants, according to Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT).

Industry experts will share their knowledge on everything from fundraising and budgeting to screenwriting and inspiration at the event based in Loews Santa Monica Beach hotel. In total, the week of programming includes more than 30 topic areas featuring more than 100 panelists and speakers on two session stages located inside the Loews hotel.

The AFM will also present hundreds of film screenings at AMC Santa Monica, AMC Broadway and the Laemmle Monica Film Center.

“For most of us, this is homecoming,” IFTA’s President/CEO Jean Prewitt said in a statement provided by AFM. “The American Film Market has had its roots in Santa Monica for 30 years and reconnecting in-person beachside with all of our colleagues and friends after three years is exhilarating. This will be an incredible week of business for our thousands of attendees who will be enjoying Santa Monica to its fullest.”

This year’s AFM marks the first time the event has been hosted in the coastal city since 2019. It is also the 43rd iteration of the annual affair.

“November is a month of thanks and this year we’re thankful to welcome the American Film Market back to Santa Monica for its 30th year in our beachside city,” SMTT CEO Misti Kerns said in a statement to the press. 

“AFM is such a highlight and plays a huge role in our economic recovery process, bringing thousands of film industry professionals to Santa Monica in what is typically our off-season,” Kerns continued. “We also want to extend a special thanks to all the local businesses who put together specials just for the occasion and embody Santa Monica’s generous hospitality, we couldn’t do this without you.”

Santa Monica Economic Development Manager Jennifer Taylor said in a statement that the city was excited to welcome AFM back to town this year.

“This is an important event for our hotels, local restaurants and, of course, our movie theater operators,” Taylor said. “Please join us in welcoming the AFM attendees to Santa Monica.”

SMTT was also offering a wide selection of discounts and deals to AFM participants, including free dessert with entree purchase at Socalo, 20% off purchase at Tavern on Main and up to $250 in savings from various retailers at Santa Monica Place, among many others (see them all at santamonica.com/afm). 

emily@smdp.com

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