The jury line-up is eye-wateringly good... Even if the recently announced actors strikes threaten the Fall festival season.
A prestigious and filmmaker-heavy jury has been announced for the 80th Venice Film Festival.
Directors Jane Campion, Laura Poitras, Martin McDonagh and Mia Hansen-Løve will join previously announced jury president Damien Chazelle on the Venice 2023 jury. Also on jury duty will be Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, Argentinian filmmaker Santiago Mitre, Italian director Gabriele Mainetti, as well as Hong Kong-Taiwanese actress Shu Qi.
And there we were thinking that this year’s Cannes jury was impressive...
New Zealander Jane Campion is best known as the first female director to receive the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for The Piano in 1993. She won the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival in 2021 and Best Director at the 94th Academy Awards for her last feature The Power of the Dog.
Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was last year’s Golden Lion winner with the doc All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. She previously won the Best Documentary Oscar in 2014 for Citizenfour.
Irish filmmaker Martin McDonagh is also a frequent visitor to the Lido. His most recent film, The Banshees of Inisherin, played in Competition last year and won four Golden Globe Awards. He previously won best screenplay at the festival in 2017 with Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri, before the film went on to Oscar glory.
Hansen-Løve is the French writer / director behind films including Things To Come, for which she won the Silver Bear for best director at the Berlinale in 2016, and more recently One Fine Morning, which screened in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2022.
Actor Saleh Bakri won the Muhr Award for Best Actor at the Dubai Film Festival for the 2017 feature _Wajib,_by Annemarie Jacir.
Argentinian filmmaker Santiago Mitre is best known for his fifth feature Argentina, 1985, which debuted on the Lido last year. The film was nominated for the Best International Feature Oscar.
Gabriele Mainetti is the Italian director and actor behind Freaks Out, his second feature, which was selected in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2021.
Actress Shu Qi is best known for roles in Gone with the Bullets (2014) by Jiang Wen, and Mojin: The Lost Legend (2015) by Wuershan. She is one of the highest paid performers in Taiwan.
Jury president Chazelle has opened Venice twice: in 2016 with La La Land and in 2018 with First Man. La La Land went on to receive several Academy Awards nominations, winning six including Best Director – making Chazelle the youngest director ever to win the award.
Sidebar juries presented
The Horizons jury, chaired by A Chiara filmmaker Jonas Carpignano, will comprise Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania who was previously at Venice with The Man Who Sold His Skin and whose recent film Four Daughters wowed in Cannes this year; US director Kahlil Joseph, who co-directed the 2017 musical film Lemonade with Beyoncé; French writer / director Jean-Paul Salomé, who was in Horizons last year with La Syndacaliste, starring Isabelle Huppert; and former BFI London Film Festival director Tricia Tuttle.
The Luigi De Laurentiis debut film award jury is led this year by Saint Omer director Alice Diop. It includes Moroccan actor, director and screenwriter Faouzi Bensaïdi, Argentinian filmmaker Laura Citarella, Italian writer / director Andrea De Sica, and US director Chloe Domont, whose directorial debut Fair Play played at this year’s Sundance.
Will the actors strike affect the Fall festivals?
In a word: yes.
Venice revealed its jury just hours after talks broke down without a deal between actors union SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance for Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
The industrial action is historic, because it is the first time in 63 years that both SAG-AFTRA and WGA (the Writers Guild of America) will be on strike at the same time. In short, Hollywood is effectively being shut down. And with no scripts, and no performers, studios will go dark.
This means that the strike could have a sizeable impact on the Fall festival season, as recently announced screen actors strike means that roughly 160,000 SAG actors will not participate in any kind of promotional work for the studios.
Fall festivals like Venice or Toronto could be heavily impacted by this decision, should the strikes persist. Stars could have to pull out from showing up and promoting their films, as SAG-AFTRA rules stipulate that studios cannot pay for actors to be sent to the festivals and that actors cannot attend any screenings or promotional exercises.
Venice is widely acknowledged as an awards launchpad, and the lack of promotion through talent means the premieres will suffer, and in turn, buzz will be dampened. The red carpet can still welcome the films’ directors (should they choose to attend), but there is little doubt that the carefully planned Oscar campaigning will be heavily impacted by the strikes. This may also lead some studios to delay the release of some films (Haunted Mansion, A Haunting in Venice), considering they bank on the red carpet hoopla and promotional visibility to generate excitement and awards chat.
Beyond Fall festivals, if strikes were to continue on for many months, blockbusters in production (Mufasa: The Lion King, Avatar 3 and 4, the Gladiator sequel) and next year's theatrical release schedules could run into difficulties, with films being pushed back, left without the stars to go on promotional tours and press junkets.
The 80th Venice Film Festival runs from 30 August – 9 September. Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers will open the festivities. The full festival line-up will be announced on 25 July.