Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival is about as glamorous as a festival gets. The red carpet, the yachts, and movie stars, it’s the good life… except if you’re a worker at the festival. The Collective of Precarious Workers at Film Festivals has just confirmed a strike over pay disputes.

The group represents 200 employees at the Festival (May 14th-25th). Two main issues involve the lowball pay, which doesn’t cover inevitable overtime, and France’s unemployment insurance program, Intermittence de Spectacle, for entertainment employees. The program protects freelance workers, except those at the Cannes Film Festival; they’re excluded from unemployment.

In a statement to Deadline, The Collective of Precarious Workers at Film Festivals released their open letter on the strike:

For a year now, we, members of the Sous les écrans la dèche (Broke Behind the Screens) collective, have been warning about the growing precariousness of the people working in film festivals.

We go from short-term missions to periods of unemployment and despite the intermittent nature of our profession and our striving for the circulation of cinematographic work, our activity does not fall within the French intermittent status benefit plan for show business workers!

The latest reforms of unemployment benefits in France and the one scheduled for July 1st of this year, which will be passed by decree, is further hardening the benefit rules for employment seekers.

These reforms are throwing festival workers in such precariousness that the majority of us will have to give up our jobs, thus jeopardizing the events we take part in.

Therefore, 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.

Our warnings and demands have been received with polite consideration so far, but no concrete measure has been offered by the CNC or the Ministry of Culture. That is why the upcoming opening of the Cannes Festival is leaving us with a bitter taste.

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 of its sidebars.

Miles Kelley

Miles Kelly is a part-time writer, full-time worrier. He has years of copywriting experience in the entertainment industry under his belt. Miles thanks you for reading his news posts and occasional features.