With a #MeToo expose looking less to rattle the 77th Cannes Film Festival, all agita now seems to lie in whether Cannes Film Festival workers strike or not. Festival Boss Thierry Frémaux in a presser this AM provided an update saying “there are negotiations and we have talked directly with them,” meaning the roughly 200 members of the Collectif des précaires des festivals de cinéma, while adding that the talks going on with the group “aren’t with the festival.”

He emphasized “everyone wants to avoid a strike” and he believed that a settlement would arrive around June. That said, Frémaux didn’t expound on any contingencies for how the festival would proceed if there is a strike — projectionists being a part of the festival group who are seeking better contract terms.

Frémaux statements about a possible strike continued to echo the sympathy expressed by the festival on May 7 in their statement.

The Cannes Boss said that “the participation of young workers, young people who come for short contracts to Cannes and other venues — we festival organizers need these highly qualified technicians who are here to help us with the organization.”

“They are part and parcel of the group who want to be given status, asking for better professional status and better labor conditions.”

“People in human resources are holding an ongoing discussion. They begin very early on. Before this call for a strike. They are making stronger demands with the CNC; they are talkign with colleagues of the ministry of labor so they can move forward on some of their claims.

Protest group Collectif des précaires des festivals de cinéma (which translates to The Collective of Precarious Workers at Film Festivals) made their plans known to strike during the Cannes Film Festival in an open letter dated May 6.  

The collective counts up to 200 French film festival workers — comprised of Cannes workers who operate within the Official Selection, the festival’s Marché du Film, Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week — and workers from other festivals across France. Potential strikers include festival projectionists, press officers, and admin staff.  

Back on May 7, the Cannes Film Festival issued a statement about festival workers’ plans to strike with the org saying it is “aware of the difficulties faced by some of their staff who, working on strings of contracts for film festivals, are affected by the reform of the French unemployment insurance scheme, and must grapple with a drop in their benefits.” 

The statement continued: “Faced with this situation, we hope that solutions will be found, and are prepared to set up lasting dialogue conditions to support them. Aware of the sounding board that the Cannes Festival and its parallel selections represent, we understand the timeliness of these demands. But in order to undertake a constructive reflection aimed at reforming the status of these workers, all the festivals concerned, the institutions, and the unions need to come together around the bargaining table. This is the work that must now be undertaken collectively”.

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