As the Cannes curtain raiser draws near, efforts are inprocess to dissuade disgruntled show-business workers - the Intermittents duspectacle - from wreaking havoc at the festival.
Over the weekend protestors temporarily blocked truckscarrying film reels heading to the festival, while at the same time a group offilmmakers whose films will be running in various selections expressed theirsupport for the workers in an open letter published in France's Journal duDimanche.
"It is urgent to find lasting solutions," said the directorswho included Agnes Jaoui, Raymond Depardon, Tony Gatlif and Benoit Jacquot. "Wewish to express our solidarity with the workers' movement'if they didn't existour films would not exist," they said, and noted that they would be present forthe press conference organised on Friday May 14 to address the issues.
Part time show business artists and technicians are rallyingagainst changes to their benefits system which went into effect in January.Despite an attempt by new culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres toalleviate the situation with new proposals, workers remain unsatisfied.
Meanwhile, the producers' union (UPF) and the union ofproducers and film exporters (CSPEFF) sent out a call for calm during thefestival. Although they did not cite the intermittents, the groups said,"At a time when the whole world's eyes are fixed on Cannes, the UPF andthe CSPEFF remind you that the Cannes festival is a globally unique event madeup of artists and professionals. It is an occasion to welcome, with respect,openness and friendship, the films of the entire world."
The largest body representing the workers, the Paris- basedCoordination des intermittents is preparing to mobilize with two busses leavingfor Cannes on Tuesday, one on Friday and another on Sunday. The workers areplanning a demonstration on Saturday and round table discussions.
Festival organisers have generally downplayed the potentialdisruptions but security is high. Managing director Veronique Cayla said overthe weekend that she was "attentive and concerned but not worried."