By: Angelique Doty
From Monday, November 9 through Friday, November 13, Pacific’s Media X Department organized student participation in an online event, the American Film Market. Normally this event would cost $245 per attendee, but the Media X Department offered a limited number of students grants to participate. This opportunity for students to participate in a free virtual week-long event series helps relieve the common financial burden inflicted by the pandemic. Simultaneously, it helps students begin building a career path by opening the door to connect with leading professionals in the filmmaking industry and learn from their seasoned advice from many years in the field.
To help prepare students far in advance, on Thursday, November 5, Jonathan Wolf, Managing Director for AFM, hosted a webinar orientation along with Jennifer Garnick, Vice President of Communications. This introduced attendees to all the various services the virtual platform provided during this week, some of which are still available in the succeeding weeks after the event’s conclusion. The orientation helped participants familiarize themselves when navigating through the online platform. This prepares them well in advance so they can participate well during the events.
The informational email provided by Media X informed the students of the basic information of AFM’s background. It is a large marketplace for distribution and production for films in progress or completed are settled, totaling to around one billion dollars in deals sealed on a yearly basis through the platform. Over 70,000 filmmaking professionals worldwide in more than seventy countries virtually connect. For the students, it provided a wide opportunity to network to learn about upcoming internships or job positions.
Jonathan Wolf discusses its mission and how it relates to those involved in it. Wolf commented, “The global film industry has set aside this week to connect for deal making, presentations, and education, and to gather marketplace intel from one another. AFM’s engaging online experience, with the types of serendipitous meetings that happen organically in the halls, hotels and parties each year in Santa Monica, will keep everyone in touch and ensure that independent film continues to reach audiences around the world.”
Some services expire at the conclusion of the event, such as the Networking Pavilion, so students were strongly encouraged to take advantage of that platform before Friday, November 13. However, many services on the AFM platform remain open long after the final day of panels. Long lasting services provided by this opportunity include a yearlong free membership to Cinando, “the year round go-to guide for film professionals and an online gateway into the film industry: contacts, films, projects in development, screening schedules during major film markets and the Cinando screening room,” according to the informational email. Services that will remain open until December 14 include the Location Expo, session replays, and Industry Offices and Location Expo. MyAFM and the On Demand Theatre will stay open until March 31, 2021.