Programs & Events

Conferences Writers Workshops Roundtables Spotlight Events AFM Orientation Carousel Cocktails


Access requirements for each track are different. See below for details.


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AFM Conferences provide attendees with knowledge and insights from industry thought leaders, decision makers and experts. Access with a ticket or one of the following badges: Industry Plus, Executive Plus, Platinum or Buyer Plus.



The Global Perspective

Friday, November 2     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

View From The Top

Jean M. Prewitt, President & CEO, Independent Film & Television Alliance
Charles H. Rivkin, Chairman & CEO, Motion Picture Association of America

The Producer & Financier Perspective
Leading Producer/Financiers share their companies’ strategies in the era of platforms, subscriptions, and evolving consumer options.

From the Frontlines: The Buyer Perspective
Distributors from all corners of the world reveal how the marketplace is evolving, from consumer preferences and behavior to shifting windows and new platforms.

Pitch Conference sponsored by Creative Industries Hawaii

Saturday, November 3    |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

Pitching Essentials
A good pitch can get a bad film made while a bad pitch can leave a terrific project languishing on the shelf. Pitching is part art (it’s creative), part science (it needs to follow a tight script) and part sales (you have to wow them). Conference attendees will learn the essential rules and tools of pitching from the experts.

The 2-Minute Pitches
Volunteers selected in advance will pitch to our expert panel. They will give unvarnished feedback on each pitch – explaining what worked, what didn’t – and why.

Pilar Alessandra, Instructor/Consultant, On The Page

Tobin Armbrust, President, Worldwide Production & Acquisitions, Virgin Produced
Cassian Elwes, Independent Producer/Agent


To be considered to pitch on stage, you will need to submit a 2-minute video pitch. For details on how to submit your pitch, read AFM Pitch Conference Guide To Creating An Effective Video Pitch.

Blockchain Conference

Saturday, November 3    |     2:30pm – 5:30pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

Production Finance Opportunities
Through decentralized transactions and transparency, Blockchain can attract stakeholders, reduce production costs and empower producers. Three presentations will explore how to use Blockchain in your next production.

Democratizing Distribution
Blockchain promises a frictionless ecosystem with immediate cash-flow from transactions – including peer-to-peer – with direct access to global audiences, transparent royalty payments and reduced piracy risk. Three presentations will cover the breadth of Blockchain’s potential to transform independent film distribution.

Nelson Granados, Ph.D., Director of The Institute of Entertainment, Media, and Culture and The Center for Applied Research,  Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Finance Conference

Sunday, November 4     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

Producing Studio Films with Independent Budgets
Production quality and talent are more crucial than ever. Producers need to be strategic with their budgets – talent, locations, special effects, crew, everything! Seasoned producers and experts share their advice on how to stretch budgets and get every dollar, euro, pound, yen or franc “on the screen.”

Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32

The Film Finance Matrix: From Script to Screen

Our panel of experts will be presented with five film packages – each with partial or limited funding. They will explore and disclose how each film could be fully financed. Five case studies; five solutions.

David Offenberg, Associate Professor of Entertainment Finance, Loyola Marymount

Production Conference

Monday, November 5     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel


Producing for the Pre-Sales Marketplace

Pre-Selling to territorial Buyers is key to financing most independent films. What are they looking for? Which genres and talent? How do you set a budget that will reflect the marketplace? Discover which projects are most likely to sell globally before they are made.

Paul Hertzberg, President & CEO, CineTel Films, Inc.

Casting for a Greenlight

Attaching talent to your screenplay doesn’t guarantee that you will get your film financed but it can certainly increase your chances. Producers and casting directors reveal what it takes to attract talent and get them attached before the financing is in place.

John Sloss, Founding Partner & President, Sloss Eckhouse LawCo. & Cinetic Media

Distribution Conference sponsored by StreamSpace

Tuesday, November 6     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel


Working with Sales Agents

To reach the global audience, an independent producer’s best ally is their international Sales Agent. Our panel of experts will discuss how to find and work with the right Sales Agent.

Clay Epstein, President, Film Mode Entertainment

The Future of Video On Demand

VOD is now the largest source of revenue for many films. Are we heading towards a future where all films will be available worldwide and where every film will be discoverable by its audience? Producers, distributors and platforms will disclose who is making money, how they are doing it, and what the future holds – separating fact from fiction.

Bruce Eisen, President, Digital Advisors


Additional Information

Doors & Will Call open at 8:00am.

For Speaking Opportunities contact AFMSpeakingOpportunities@IFTA-online.org.


Learn how to shape your screenplay into a compelling narrative that will resonate with studios, investors and a global audience. Access with a ticket or one of the following badges: Industry Plus, Executive Plus, Platinum or Buyer Plus.


Writers Workshop I

Sunday, November 4     |     2:30pm – 5:30pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel


You Had Me At Page One
Make the reader love you on the first page! Learn writing techniques that help your script hit the ground running. Through examples from your favorite scripts, we take a hard look at word choice, scene direction, dialogue approach, and the nuances of the page.

Instructor: Pilar Alessandra, Instructor/Consultant, On the Page

The Art of Cinematic Storytelling: Transforming Your Premise Into An Engaging Screenplay

The greatest challenge facing all screenwriters, whether novice or professional, is the process of transforming a premise into a compelling, sustainable story. This workshop focuses solely on the art of the story, with an emphasis on such fundamentals as character development, super-objective, rising conflict, scene work, and three-act structure. Participants learn how to spot critical mistakes often made in the initial development of a screenplay’s narrative. The final goal of the workshop is a greater understanding of what makes a story work and a series of tools that participants can immediately apply to their current screenplay.

Instructor: Steven Wolfson, UCLA

Writers Workshop II

Monday, November 5     |     2:30pm – 5:30pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel



Writing Compelling Characters

No matter what genre you’re working in, getting your reader to empathize with and root for your story’s protagonist is one of the most important goals – if not THE most important goal – for a screenwriter to achieve. Using film clips, screenplay pages, and brief exercises, this workshop explores how to create powerful, memorable characters, and the most effective techniques for bringing them to life on the page.

Instructor: Billy Mernit, UCLA Instructor & Universal Pictures Story Analyst


AFM Roundtables are open-ended discussions that explore specialized topics and timely issues in an intimate setting. Access with one of the following badges until full: Industry Plus, Executive Plus, Platinum or Buyer Plus. Due to limited space, tickets to Roundtables are not available.


Using Intellectual Property to Boost the Visibility of LGBTQ Characters

Saturday, November 3     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Films based on intellectual property (IP) are considered less risky by financiers since an audience has already been established. This makes adapting existing IP a viable route to getting more LGBTQ stories onto the screen. We’ll discuss how to leverage news articles, short stories, biographies, novels, comic books and digital series with queer and trans lead characters, in order to get more LGBTQ feature films into production. Presented in partnership with Outfest.

Lucy Murkerjee, Director of Programming, Outfest & Newfest

The Passion Of The Film: Embracing Our New Opportunities

Sunday, November 4     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Today’s rapidly evolving marketplace presents new and exciting pathways for films to reach and inspire families and the faithful. We’ll explore who is succeeding, why, and where the industry is heading.
Barry Landis, Chairman & Co-Founder, Ribbow Media Group

International Awakening: Investing in Gender Diversity for Expanding Audiences around the Globe

Sunday, November 4     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

International film boards, public broadcasters, government agencies and civic institutions have launched robust initiatives to increase the number of female producers, writers and directors working in film. We’ll explore the mandatory and voluntary programs that are driving change in storytelling and employment opportunity for women in front of and behind the camera. The discussion will also include best practices and procedures that you can implement now to ensure that your productions are tuned into these new marketplace demands. Presented in partnership with ReFrame.

Producing Passion Documentaries

Monday, November 5     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Audiences are seeking out more documentaries than ever before. What elements will help a doc stand out? Producers and distributors will discuss producing for success in the documentary marketplace.

Matt Holzman, Host/Producer, KCRW’s “The Document”

Distributing & Monetizing Feature Documentaries

Monday, November 5     |     4:30pm – 6:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

The Documentary marketplace is quickly transforming. New platforms and alliances are providing opportunities for stories that can support a long-form treatment. Producers and distributors will examine the diverse sources of revenue and discuss which co-production models can achieve success.

Peter Broderick, Distribution Strategist, Paradigm Consulting

Boosting Your Micro-Budget

Tuesday, November 6     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

High quality micro-budget films are no longer a novelty, making it essential for producers to follow the key principles of producing for the marketplace. Learn from experts how to maximize every dollar and how to create a small film that will be destined for big success. Presented in partnership with Slamdance.

Peter Baxter, President & Co-Founder, Slamdance Film Festival, Filmmaker

Respecting The Genre: Why Do Some Horror Films Work While Others Don’t?

Tuesday, November 6     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Hundreds of horror films are made every year but only a few really stand out. Why is that? What makes the successful films resonate? Producers, distributors and influencers will explore what makes the genre work for global audiences at every level, from marketing to release to longevity in the horror community. Presented in partnership with Dread Central.

Jonathan Barkan, DreadCentral.com


AFM Spotlight Events are unique opportunities to connect and learn. Access with any AFM badge until full.


Korea CG/VFX Pitching Showcase

Friday, November 2     |     10:00am – 11:30am     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Meet with the leading CG/VFX companies in Korea. CG/VFX accounts for a significant part in K-wave, just like K-POP, K-Drama, K-Movie. Don’t miss your chance to experience the latest technology of K-CG/VFX.
Buyer Business Meetings will take place in Escondido on the 8th floor after the session.

Producing Successful Content for A Global Market

Friday, November 2     |     2:30pm – 3:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

With the Chinese box office set to take over the U.S. box office soon, producers are challenged to create content that appeals to an ever-increasing international box office. Many producers are entering into co-productions to help break into foreign markets. Hear how experts navigate the production process across borders to create box office victories. Presented by the US China Film & TV Industry Expo.

Engage: Navigating Hollywood’s Shifting Landscape

Friday, November 2     |     2:30pm – 5:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Miramar Hotel

Engage is Pepperdine’s Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture (IEMC) signature diversity and inclusion event where creative entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from high profile industry professionals. This half-day symposium features provocative panel discussions and invaluable insider information about the film, television, and new media landscape from a diverse group of notable creatives, producers, and executives in the entertainment industry. This year’s symposium theme, “21st Century Creatives and Storytelling,” will focus on the burgeoning trends in the industry for creatives and business entrepreneurs.
To Register for the Event: www.pepperdine.edu

Understanding Distribution In China

Friday, November 2     |     4:00pm – 5:00pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

With the influx of new streaming platforms, and the continued increase in the number of theaters in China, experts give insights on the distribution options in the Chinese market. Presented by the US China Film & TV Industry Expo.

How to Build, Manage and Grow Your Own Video On Demand Business

Sunday, November 4     |     8:30am – 9:30am     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Home Entertainment revenue hit $47.8 Billion in 2017, with digital spending up 41% from the year before. This presents an opportunity for film, television and media brands to launch and manage their own video on demand operation. This discussion will explore how you can grow new audiences and generate more revenue with your own video on demand business. Presented by the online video experts at SHIFT72.

The Louisiana Advantage

Sunday, November 4     |     5:15pm – 7:30pm     |     Filmmakers Lounge, Le Merigot Hotel

Since 2002, only Louisiana has set the global standard for motion picture production incentives. With a competitive film production incentive; tax credits for full time, permanent jobs; and funds for investment in education and workforce development – the Louisiana Advantage is clear. The year-old enhancements to the Louisiana Entertainment Incentives have already set the bar even higher. Join officials from the state of Louisiana as they provide insight into the Louisiana Advantage.

Success factors of Korea CG/VFX and Korea-Global Co-Production

Monday, November 5     |     10:00am – 11:30am     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Overview the latest technology from Korean CG/VFX which is growing sharply and rapidly. Also check out the current works of leading Korean CG/VFX companies and explore the secrets of rapid success through a Q&A session.
Buyer Business Meetings will take place in Escondido on the 8th floor after the session.

Score It Great! How To Get The Best Possible Film And TV Music For Every Budget

Monday, November 5     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

George Lucas was right when he said “The sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie.” Hire a composer or use licensed music? What clearances and sets of rights do I need, and for how long and how much will they cost? Should I get Festival rights? What makes a film’s soundtrack commercially successful? How do I find a Composer and or a Music Supervisor? These questions and all of yours will be answered. Presented by the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund.
Dennis Dreith, Perseverance Records Recording Artist; Owner, Magic Closet Music
Paul Broucek, President, Music, Warner Bros. Pictures
Germaine Franco, Composer and Music Producer 
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, Executive Director, Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund 

Working With the U.S. Guilds

Tuesday, November 6     |     4:00pm – 5:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

DGA, SAGindie and WGAW representatives explain how to secure talent agreements for directors, actors and writers and make your project signatory to the guilds’ agreements.
Darrien Michele Gipson, Executive Director, SAGindie
Cynthia Tollett, Assistant Executive Director, Directors Guild of America
Kay S. Wolf, Senior Representative/Member Organizing Department, Writers Guild of America West



Learn how the market works and the best way to connect with the AFM’s 400+ production/distribution companies. Access with any AFM badge until full.



Wednesday, October 31     |     3:00pm – 4:30pm     |     Arclight Cinemas, Screen 1

Jonathan Wolf, Managing Director, American Film Market



Saturday, November 3     |     3:00pm – 4:30pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Jonathan Wolf, Managing Director, American Film Market

Additional Information
We recommend that producers read How to Work the AFM in advance.


AFM hosts the world’s producers and decision makers to four networking receptions at the historic Merry-Go-Round on the Santa Monica Pier. The AFM’s Carousel Cocktails provide a unique and memorable experience as participants connect and relax at the beach.


Carousel Cocktails will take place Friday – Monday, November 2, 3, 4 & 5, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Qualified Attendee badge holders are invited to one reception. The choice of evening is selected when each badge is purchased.

Carousel Cocktails