It had started to look inevitable in recent weeks that the market would need to change up this year, with virus spikes in the U.S. and continued restrictions on international travel making any physical edition of the event seem increasingly challenging.
AFM typically welcomes some 7,000 industry professionals from more than 70 countries. In the pandemic era, it’s difficult to see how any major global event like that will be able to be hosted physically any time soon. Cannes, one of the other key markets on the calendar, shifted entirely online this year, and Toronto has indicated that its industry program will be digital for 2020.
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The Santa Monica market’s 41st edition will also run one week later than planned, over five days November 9-13, so as not to clash with Election Day on November 3.
“By making this announcement four months in advance, AFM’s stakeholders can move forward and plan with certainty,” said Michael Ryan, Chairman, IFTA and Partner, GFM Films. “AFM 2020 Online will give the global film community the opportunities that are always critical to our success – to meet, share knowledge, collaborate, and discover tomorrow’s films as they do every year in Santa Monica.”
AFM remains a key date for the international biz. Despite seeing its importance wane in recent years as the business increasingly moves away from relying on traditional physical markets to a more year-round guise, many still use it as a moment to travel to the States to have meetings and catch up with key companies. It also continues to be a timely launchpad for new projects, with titles introduced at least year’s edition including Channing Tatum movie Dog, Gerard Butler action pic The Plane, and Zac Efron movie King Of The Jungle.
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