Cannes jury members back Hollywood writers' strike

Agence France-Presse - Agence France-Presse
Cannes jury members back Hollywood writers' strike
"Bird Box" writer Eric Heisserer hold his sign on the picket line on the fourth day of the strike by the Writers Guild of America in front of Netflix in Hollywood, California on May 5, 2023.
AFP / Frederic J. Brown

PARIS, France — Ruben Ostlund, head of this year's Cannes festival jury, said Tuesday he supports the screenwriters strike in Hollywood ahead of the opening ceremony for the industry shindig on the French Riviera.

"I think it's great that people have a strong collegial feeling so you can go out and have a strike," said the two-time Palme d'Or winner.

Taking such action was "how you can change the conditions of your profession. I am definitely, yeah... go!"

The strike in Hollywood kicked off on May 3 after negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and major US studios and streaming services failed.

US actor and director Paul Dano, one of the eight members on Ostlund's jury and married to actress and screenwriter Zoe Kazan, also voiced his support.

"My wife is currently picketing with our six-month-old strapped to her chest and I will go be there with her on the picket line when I get home from here" said Dano, seen recently in Steven Spielberg's "The Fabelmans."

The thousands of picketing writers in Hollywood say they are striking for better compensation in a field that has been disrupted by streaming.

Related: Hollywood strikes inflamed by claim AI could do writers' jobs

As for the mood Ostlund hopes to foster among his jury as they deliberate the 21 films in competition, he stressed there would be no rules and no holding back.

"When it comes to running the jury, you try to create a certain type of atmosphere where people don't try to be smart all the time," he said. "People shouldn't be scared of saying what their gut feeling is, if you have a jury atmosphere where every one is trying to be... intellectual, smarter than the other... you are missing out on something."

But as far as providing any talking points on the movies under consideration at Cannes, Ostlund pledged silence.

"We are going to keep our mouths completely shut this year", said the 49-year-old Swede. "Publicists will have no rumors."

Ostlund described the top award as "the greatest film prize in the world. If I can choose between an Oscar and a Palme, it's an easy choice."

The Cannes Film Festival opens Monday evening and runs until May 27.

RELATED: The films competing at the Cannes Film Festival

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