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Vancouver prepares to shine at American Film Market

Last year, 2013, may have been a lean year for the movie business with film production thin on the ground and some studios facing empty space, but EVP Tim Brown of the Film Division of Breakthrough Production, a global sales agency and production company in Vancouver and Toronto, is optimistic about a profitable season at the AFM in Santa Monica next month. 

This will be his 19th AFM and Brown says that while he goes with the intent “to close as many deals as possible,” that “renewing old relationships and creating new ones,” is the most important goal. 

Founder of “Joker Films” in Vancouver, Brown sold his company to Breakthrough early this year.

 The AFM is “a long term trade show,” says Managing Director of the AFM, Jonathan Wolf, “a film festival for studio executives and production companies.” Countries compete for new customers and pitch the benefits of filming in their locale.  Friendships are made that essentially encourage work months in advance. 

 The purpose of a film commission is to attract new films, thereby creating jobs.  

“It will be our 9th market at the AFM,” says Hans Fraikin, Executive Director of the Quebec Film Commission, but it’s fresh and new every time.”

 Fraikin has been a partner sponsor of the AFM for the past five years.  “We measure success by the films we attract,” he says. "By visual effects contracts and by contracts our delegates have made.”

The Quebec Film Commission, a privately funded nonprofit, must seek innovative ways to raise financing and promote their jurisdiction.  One such method is to offer membership, in exchange for commercial incentives and representation at film markets around the world, including the AFM.  The Quebec Cocktail party has become legendary for networking with studio execs, to be held this year on Monday, November 10th at the Viceroy. 

“We always come away with at least one new film and several visual effects contracts,” says Fraikin, as he looks forward to another successful AFM.

 Meanwhile, Tim Brown is finalizing campaigns, creating trailers, catalogues and posters, assuring all marketing material is correct. With a wealth of talent, both on screen and off, Vancouver’s beautiful scenery and close proximity to Hollywood, the added incentive of current tax breaks offered on labor costs achieved by using local VFX houses, Vancouver is fast becoming the all around go-to location for filmmaking. 

Indeed, the financial incentives are so great that Sony Pictures Imageworks recently relocated their head office to Vancouver.   “Video effects houses open everyday in Vancouver,” says Brown ,who retains his title as an Independent Producer, “There is no reason to go anywhere else to make a movie.”


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