Cannes Day 7: Writers’ Strike Creeps in, US Acquisitions Quiet

Plus, questions loom over the future of independent film

Alicia Vikander, Jude Law
Alicia Vikander, Jude Law (CREDIT: Getty Images)

The first week of the Cannes Film Festival came to a close on Sunday, and it’s been a time of exhilarating highs coupled with very quiet low days. Where Martin Scorsese and Todd Haynes can have their latest films debut back-to-back and a Sunday that feels incredibly silent by comparison. As TheWrap’s Steve Pond said in his look at the festival so far, this simultaneous mix of high-brow film and those with mass appeal is understandable: “At film festivals like this one, and in times like these, a little cultural schizophrenia can be a glorious thing.”

That said, it’s understandable that Monday’s roundup of the festival is a hodgepodge of things, the calm before the final week that no doubt will see acquisitions come fast and furious, as well as some massive film debuts.

The Writers’ Strike Comes to Cannes as the Independent Market Questions Its Future

Despite being an American writers’ strike, attendees at Cannes have felt its influence since day one, when French film groups ARP and directors guild SRF published a letter, signed by 500 members of the French film industry, critiquing practices like censoring films for television as copyright infringement and threats to auteur filmmakers. ARP, the guild for writers, directors and producers, as well as SRF, the directors guild behind Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, want the final version of edited features, as well as opening and closing re-edits, to be signed off by the film’s director and writers, as well as have their names listed on all promotional material.

Now, in a write-up by Screen Daily, questions swirl about whether American production companies might start seeking European involvement in projects. Particularly if SAG, the guild that governs the actors, goes on strike, might European talent start making their way into American films (more than they already are) as a means of keeping movies coming?

It goes hand-in-hand with Cannes’ Investors Circle, a panel featuring financiers and international producers discussing the state of cinema. Similar to our opening thoughts on Cannes, many at the panel said the time of big money playing at the festival has slowed down. As reported by Screen Daily, “streamers not releasing comprehensive data on what titles are working, both in the theatrical market and on their platforms, is hindering independent film’s ability to respond to changing audience behaviour.”

Acquisitions Start Rolling In, Though US Distribution Slow

We’ve been seeing acquisitions start up over the last week, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of movies getting snapped up for the US market. Even Todd Haynes’ critically lauded “May December” is still looking for a distributor stateside. And that continues to be the case, even with movies starring big American talent. Highland Film Group’s “Old Guy,” starring Christoph Waltz as a contract killer alongside Cooper Hoffman, secured several international deals, according to The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, yet is still lacking American distribution.


“Anatomy of a Fall”


Check out TheWrap’s Cannes magazine here and all of our Cannes 2023 coverage here.