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No Dearth of Movies Evident at AFM

2 Mar, 2003 By: Kurt Indvik

Walking through the hallways of the Santa Monica Beach Hotel last week during the American Film Market (the AFM takes over the hotel each year, with more than 300 suppliers taking meeting rooms) I was struck by how many movies are made that one never hear of.

According to the MPAA, in 2001 (2002 figures not yet available) some 739 films were given a rating and 482 of those made it to a domestic theatrical release. I don't have a quantifiable number as to how many films are made each year, but one has to figure its certainly more than a thousand and maybe more, if you count international films that make it to our shores.

Many of the films I saw promoted at AFM were, at least on their face, your basic classic formulaic genres of horror, urban/hip-hop, comedy, etc. I saw marquee faces adorning posters for films I had never heard of, as well as what appeared to be serious dramas and concept films that l would probably have stopped to watch if they were accepting sit down patrons in these meeting rooms.

As MTI's president Larry Brahms said after visiting the market, “It was really nice to see hundreds of companies still making movies, and the ones we saw looked very good.”

My AFM visit simply served as a reminder that there is a tremendous amount of film to be watched — and that people want to watch — outside of the major motion picture hits that, while we may all agree “drive” the home video market, comprise only a small portion of the films being made today.

It was a reminder that hits bring customers into the store, but what keeps them loyal to your store versus another may hinge on your ability to find the quality genre-driven and small-budget concept-driven independent films that deserve viewer attention and can deliver the entertainment goods in between the hot box office winners. That selection, and the ability to browse the selection, is what keeps the rental store, especially the knowledgeable independent rental store, a viable and valuable service to their community of serious film lovers.

It's certainly like there isn't a lot to choose from.

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