Last week the American Film Market announced it is teaming with the People’s Choice Awards to add a pitching competition called Favorite Film Pitch. The competition will allow filmmakers and producers who attend the AFM to record a live pitch during the market which will be entered into the competition. A group of industry leaders, selected by the AFM, will then select five finalists and those pitches will be posted on the PCA website (peopleschoice.com) in early January allowing fans to choose the winner.
While AFM managing director Jonathan Wolf (pictured) says the pitch competition is open to documentaries, he feels traditional narratives will fare better with judges.
So what does that mean for docs at AFM? ‘When it comes to docs, it’s tough to get funding for one,’ says Wolf. ‘It’s extremely rare that a doc is going to go into a film market that hasn’t started yet and that’s going to start pre-selling.’ In Wolf’s opinion, for a doc to stand out from the crowd it needs to focus on its marketing hooks.
As for the market and how its faring against film festivals, which buyers have increasingly turned to when shopping for films, Wolf feels it is on the rise. ‘What I think we’re starting to see happen now, and it’s a very slow trend, is buyers starting to pull back from the events that don’t have organized markets,’ says Wolf. ‘Markets will grow. That doesn’t mean the AFM will be bigger, it means the amount of business that’s going to be done at the markets is going to slowly increase.’