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American Film Market Puts Santa Monica Back in the Spotlight

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Have Extra Room for the Holidays 2019

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By Jorge Casuso

November 5, 2019 -- Tuesday marks the 29th consecutive year Santa Monica hosts the American Film Market (AFM), putting the beach city that once hosted the Oscars at the center of the film world once again.

Billed as the world's largest film market, AFM is projected to pump some $20 million into the Santa Monica economy over the next eight days as more than 7,000 participants from 70 countries flock to the city.

1961 Academy Awards at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
1961 Academy Awards at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (Santa Monica Image Archives)

They will stay at local hotels, attend screenings at local theaters, dine in local restaurants and bring "groundbreaking creativity" to the city, said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT).

“For nearly three decades the American Film Market has been a welcome staple of autumn in Santa Monica, bringing film leaders from around the world to our beachside city and providing an economic impact,” Kerns said.

“November is typically off-season for our tourism industry, making this business an even more ideal group business opportunity for our community.”

The focal point of the annual festival is Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, which is transformed into a bustling marketplace.

During the event key members of the international motion picture and television industry -- including producers, distributors, sales agents and directors -- attend screenings, network and cut deals, participate in panels and attend multiple parties.

More than 300 films are screened during AFM, whose participants financed, produce and distribute 90 percent of the world's films, according to SMTT.

Films will be screened in the Loews ballroom spaces, as well as at AMC Santa Monica, ArcLight, Broadway Cineplex, Laemmle Monica Film Center and Ocean Screening Room.

In 2011, Santa Monica, which has been hosting the AFM since 1991, nearly lost the event to LA Live in downtown Los Angeles, where hotel rents were lower and more plentiful ("American Film Market to Stay in Santa Monica," December 9, 2011).

But some members of IFTA, which was negotiating the deal, resisted the move, saying they didn’t want the marketplace in a “soulless space in L.A.”

“This year we celebrate the 40th American Film Market and the 29th year in Santa Monica,” said Jonathan Wolf, managing director of the American Film Market.

“In the film world, Santa Monica and AFM are forever linked."

During the annual event, local businesses will offer nearly 60 special deals and discounts that "provide AFM guests with an authentic experience during their visit," SMTT officials said.

To learn more about AFM specials visit

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