The Beginning Of A Beautiful Relationship

AFI FEST 2004 presented by Audi and the American Film Market (AFM) have joined together to form an alliance unique in North America. The event organizers are collaborating for the first time to create a unified market and festival that promises new possibilities for all concerned.

"AFI FEST and AFM are best likened to roommates rather than a married couple.AFI FEST is culture; AFM is commerce. Christian Gaines, AFI Fest Director

According to AFI FEST Director Christian Gaines, it is the contrasts between the organizations that make the alliance such a perfect fit. "AFI FEST and AFM are best likened to roommates rather than a married couple. AFI FEST is culture; AFM is commerce. AFI FEST is on the east side of town; AFM is on the west side. AFI FEST takes place during the evenings and nights; AFM during the mornings and afternoons."

To gain perspective on the number of possibilities of this alliance, it's important to take a closer look at Cannes, the world's biggest combined film festival and marketplace. While many people think of Cannes as the place for splashy premieres with dazzling Hollywood superstars walking the red carpet, industry insiders know it better as 10 days of intense dealing and negotiating.

The Cannes market took years to develop after the first festival in 1946, opening for the first time in 1960 with 10 participants and one screen on a rooftop; it has now become an essential fixture on the cinema calendar.

The festival and market exist simultaneously but individually. The films in the festival draw the stars, the attention of the worldwide press and television cameras galore. The marketplace is where production companies and sales agents present those films , plus hundreds of others , to buyers and distributors in every category of the international film community.

The quality of the films in Cannes attracts the interest of cinema fans, but it's in the restaurants and bistros where companies can be made or broken. That's the sort of dynamic energy that the organizers of AFI FEST and AFM anticipate , and will welcome with open arms. Festival Director Gaines outlines more advantages in having the events occur simultaneously, including free shuttle buses that run between Santa Monica and Hollywood every half-hour. "So anyone who wants to travel back and forth can do so easily and conveniently," Gaines said. The convenience, Gaines said, is an important one.

"A hot screening at AFI FEST could lead buyers to check out a market screening they might otherwise have missed. We anticipate buyers will also check out the festival itself, to see and feel the excitement generated by an enthusiastic audience responding to a really great new film that's just been discovered."

Finally, "filmmakers will also have greater opportunities to meet with people on the production and finance side of the business at AFM. In turn, that may open up further possibilities for them creatively on their future projects." "AFI FEST and AFM are best likened to roommates rather than a married couple. AFI FEST is culture; AFM is commerce. Christian Gaines, AFI Fest Director

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