By ROBERT MEYERS
(A founding member and first chairman of the American Film Market, Bobby Meyers is a veteran of Village Roadshow Pictures, Orion Pictures Int’l. and Odyssey Entertainment. At the time described below, he was president of foreign sales for Lorimar Pictures International. He is currently a consultant to film buyers in Australia, Greece, Singapore, Turkey and Japan and a board member of the International Film & Television Alliance, the AFM’s parent organization.)
I am happy that (Simesite) is doing this article on Hy. He was perhaps the greatest supporter of the independent companies for many years. He certainly gave important coverage to all of my activities at Lorimar and our events at the company’s La Costa facility (located in Southern California), whichin fact lead to the creation of the AFM.
But his writing was even more directly related to the initial thought leading up to the AFM.
It must have been just after the Cannes festival of 1980, when Hy wrote an article in Variety emphasizing that the American sellers were unhappy with Cannes, because of the higher prices imposed and the bribes required at that time, and I don’t remember what else. (However, Cannes was then, and still is a great market.)
But the way it happened, is that after I read that article about how unhappy we were supposed to be — and believing that in fact, we were not all that unhappy — I called a couple of my colleagues, and asked them the question… “Are you unhappy with Cannes?” Nobody had more than the usual gripes, but when speaking to others, I raised the question, “Well, why are we all going to Cannes just to sell the American independent film, and why not right here in the U.S.?”
Please realize, that we had had three very successful events at La Costa, followed by many buyers and sellers gathering in Los Angeles immediately after, so, we then organized a luncheon with about eight sellers. (There is some debate as to who was actually in attendance.)
I led the discussion, and had with us a gentleman named Buddy Goldberg who had organized all of our parties and the events at La Costa. This small group decided to explore having a market in Los Angeles, instead of the market in Cannes.
There is much more I can say about the further development of the early AFM. But as this regards Hy, I can only repeat that his article was instrumental,and both before, and especially after, he was the most supportive writer in the industry covering our plans and the first AFM, as well
The independent international world owes Hy a great deal of thanks for all of his coverage and support!