Cannes Film Festival Workers Are Officially on Strike

Cannes Film Festival workers are on strike
Cannes Film Festival Strike Olha Solodenko/Shutterstock Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock Дмитрий Горелкин/Adobe Stock

It’s official. A strike by Cannes Film Festival workers is definitely happening. After a week of tense talks and negotiations, the “Collective of Precarious Workers at Film Festivals” confirmed their actions in an open letter.

As reported by Deadline on May 6, the collective represents up to 200 French film festival workers, from projectionists to receptionists. A spokesperson for the collective told the Agence France-Presse that while the strike won’t put the opening of the festival on May 14 at risk, “there could be disruptions as it goes on.”

“In a context of extreme vulnerability and absolute emergency to protect our work, and after consultation and vote of the members of the collective, we call for a strike of all employees of the Cannes Film Festival and its sidebars,” the group said in the open letter.

Why are Cannes Film Festival workers on strike?

The workers are on strike for a couple of reasons. One is pay — the striking workers argue their current pay structure does not properly compensate them for the grueling overtime they are expected to work during festival season.

Also, Cannes Film Festival employees are hired on flat-fee, short-term contracts. This, the workers argue, is problematic because they are ineligible for France’s unemployment insurance scheme for entertainment workers.

The program, known as “Intermittence du Spectacle,” offers unemployment benefits for film and theater workers in between short-term projects. Admittance is based on the total number of hours worked per year.

However, according to Deadline, the flat nature of some of these film festival workers’ contracts excludes them from off-season protections.

“We demand that the organizations that employ us be affiliated to a collective agreement allowing us to be hired under the status of show business worker’s intermittence and that our positions be integrated into the unemployment benefit system, retroactive to the last 18 months,” the workers wrote.

Why does this matter for creators?

Creators are set to have a larger presence at the film festival than ever before this year, whether that be through TikTok’s growing presence as an entertainment company or lucrative sponsored brand trips.

But these creative workers are, after all, our peers and an integral part of the creator economy. It’s worth paying attention to their growing movement.

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