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Will the writers hit the Cannes 2023 events? – The Hollywood Reporter


Cannes is some 6,000 miles and a world away from the Writers Guild of America picket lines in Los Angeles, but with less than two weeks to go before the start of the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 16 and its accompanying film market, the Marché du Film, the impact of the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike is beginning to take hold. already felt.

On the surface, it feels like business as usual, the same frantic revelry that precedes every Cannes festival. The studios are finalizing their journalistic strategies and party plans. Agents and sales firms are refining their market offerings. The actors and their stylists pick this year’s red carpet looks.

But veteran Cannes attendees with lingering memories can still remember the seismic turmoil of the 2007-2008 WGA withdrawal and fear a similar outcome this time unless the Writers Guild, Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) soon reaches an agreement on a new pact. . a contract.

As for the festival itself, disruption is likely to be minimal. WGA writers on Cannes-related films will not be allowed to promote their films — the union clearly states that members are “prohibited from making promotional appearances” while the strike continues — but writers and directors, such as Wes Anderson, are in competition with Cannes. Asteroid CityMartin Scorsese, who Moonflower Killers The world premiere will be out of competition on the Croisette, and they will be able to attend the festival and hold press conferences as principals. However, their co-writers – Roman Coppola are on Asteroid Cityand Eric Roth and David Gran the killers He will be expected to stay home, or at least not participate in any official promotional activities in Cannes.

Nor is the strike likely to upend the Cannes film market immediately. Anticipating the possible strike, the producers and sales companies set their own deadlines for writers to turn in scripts before the strike on May 1. Ahead of this year’s Marché, international buyers are reporting a plethora of new projects, whether finished films or pre-sale packages.

“We are already looking at a number of great projects, all with final scripts, to be sold in Cannes this year,” says Yoko Higuchi-Zitzmann, CEO of German media group Telepool.

But even if those packages sell out, the extended strike could disrupt or delay the start of production.

“For films that are pre-sold in Cannes, many of these scripts will require polishing, a second or third draft, or, after they are cast, some actors will want to rewrite their dialogue,” says David Garrett, CEO of Mister Smith Entertainment, which deals With sales on the directors fortnight title fire puzzle and a New Zealand horror film in production inlaid in Cannes this year. “So either it will be suspended, and people will miss the summer window to shoot, or they will continue shooting with poor quality text.”

And it would be difficult for studios or production companies to get out of the US and hire non-English speaking, non-WGA writers to fill the void. Most international writers’ unions—including the Australian, Canadian, and United Kingdom writers’ unions—advised their members to support the WGA and not take on American work. The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) expressly forbade members from taking on “amazing works”, i.e. productions based in the United States or those initially made under a WGA contract. The Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) said it would fire any member who breaks the WGA picket line to work on an American project.

Adding to the uncertainty are the upcoming negotiations between AMPTP and the Directors Guild of America (DGA), which are scheduled to begin May 10. The DGA’s current contract expires on June 30 and the union has already expected “tough and complex” negotiations over tailings flows and more transparency from the entertainment giants, the same issues that have proven to be deal-breakers in the WGA talks.

For now, all of this potential disruption is happening beneath the surface. Unlike late-night television, which has already shut down due to the writers’ strike, film production is a long-running business. The films being marketed at Cannes this month are aimed, at the earliest, for release in 2024/2025.

“I don’t think we’ll see the full impact of the strike [in Cannes]but it will certainly make itself felt later, perhaps in another six months, in the fall and the American film market [in Los Angeles in November],” says Telepool’s Higuchi-Zzetzmann.

The longer the strike lasts, the longer it will take for the industry to recover.

“Right now, writers aren’t even allowed to have meetings to talk about new projects, or do any development,” notes Garrett of Mister Smith. “Everything has stopped.”

So it may seem business as usual in Cannes this year. But the longer the writers’ strike goes on, the more likely it is that Secret Tremors will finally shake things up.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.