Damien Chazelle, the head of the international jury for the Venice Film Festival, wore a "Writers Guild on Strike" shirt and pin to the event's opening news conference to support the current strikes in Hollywood.
Chazelle made a potent statement about the state of Hollywood at the jury press conference, praising "art over content."
Also present were artistic director Alberto Barbera, La Biennale president Roberto Cicutto, Orizzonti president Jonas Carpignano, and Luigi De Laurentiis president Alice Diop.
“Today is the 121st day that the writers in Hollywood have been on strike; the 48th day that the actors have been on strike,” Chazelle started.
“I think there’s a basic idea that each work of art has value onto itself, that it’s not just a piece of content — to use Hollywood’s favourite word right now — to be put into a pipeline.
Adding, “That idea is very basic, I think, to art and how art is made and how art can be made sustainable to the people who make it has been eroded quite a bit, in the past 10 years.”
The La La Land director further said, “There’s many issues on the table with the strikes, but to me, that’s the core issue. That’s where the debate about residuals and things like that comes from.”
“It really comes down to that idea of people being remunerated for each piece of art that is made, and can we find a way to maintain and get back that idea — art over content.”
He continued, “I think we’re just here to acknowledge that that struggle is going on, and as a result a lot of people who otherwise would have loved to be here during this festival are not able to be here. It’s a difficult time, obviously, in Hollywood, especially for working writers, actors, but also crew.”
“Everyone is affected by the state of the world right now. So I just wanted to find some way to acknowledge that while we’re here celebrating the art of cinema.”