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"MIFED kept us hostage" AFM's Bill Shields' charge.

"MIFED Kept Us Hostage" AFM's Bill Shields' Charge

Saying that he wanted to "clear the air" about rumors and innuendo swirling around the AFM vs. MIFED controversy, William A. Shields, the AFM chairman, directed a no-punches-pulled broadside against the Milan market, which he said had been trying to keep the U.S. companies an "economic hostage."

Shields said that 86 per cent of the AFM members had voted to counterpoint MIFED with a second AFM market in Los Angeles in October. "The fact is that Milan is an antiquated market, involving exorbitant costs, and we decided we should do something about it," Shields said, adding: "This was simply a business decision. We have no quarrel whatever with the European producers and distributors. In fact, quite a number of them are AFM members.

"We don't tell our members what to do. They voted overwhelmingly to have a second AFM market, and that's that."

The decision to abandon MIFED is by no means unanimous, and there is opposition to it, particularly in Europe.

Jonas Rosenfield, the AFM President, and Shields met with AFM's British contingent, which is split on whether or not to attend the October AFM rather than MIFED.

Figures released by AFM showed that a medium-sized company attending AFM, Cannes and MIFED would have to spend $227,727. Of this, AFM would account for 27 per cent (if the company is NY-based), Cannes for 40 per cent and MIFED for 33 per cent.

Shields, noting the very high cost of hotels and services in Milan, said it would be cheaper for a London-based company to come to Los Angeles in October than make the trip to MIFED. The AFM Chairman said that decision for an AFM fall market was "not taken in a vacuum", and the MIFED "costs proportionately more than the amount of business generated there."

"That automatically reduced our costs by 35 per cent," he said. Shields wouldn't comment on Jack Valenti's endorsement of MIFED except to note that the majors didn't attend the market, and that the MPAA President hadn't been to MIFED (except to deliver a speech) for the past five years.

AFM has already committed itself with the City of Santa Monica for the 1992 markets. It's a four-year deal with a one-year option.
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Title Annotation:AFM Roundup; American Film Market
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Mar 1, 1991
Previous Article:AFM-MPAA "head to head." (American Film Market; Motion Picture Association of America) (AFM Roundup)
Next Article:Editor's letter.

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