TIFF Will Continue Planning This Years Fest; Venice In Wait And See Mode As SAG-AFTRA Strike Begins

With the much expected SAG-AFTRA strike announced Thursday, fall film festivals are in wait-and-see mode as to whether it’s a season sans stars.

“We will continue planning for this year’s festival with the hope of a swift resolution in the coming weeks,” the Toronto Film Festival told Deadline today in a statement.

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A Venice Film Festival insider also told us, “There’s nothing we can do but wait and see.”

Added TIFF, “The impact of this strike on the industry and events like ours cannot be denied.”

“We urge our partners and colleagues to resume an open dialogue,” encouraged TIFF.

Venice runs August 30-September 9, while TIFF runs September 7-17. The Telluride Film Festival, which is holding its 50th anniversary edition August 30-Labor Day, announces its lineup the day before the fest starts.

TIFF already booked the world premiere of Taikia Waititi’s Searchlight comedy Next Goal Wins. The filmmaker’s last premiere at TIFF, Jojo Rabbit, won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, an Oscar bellwether, and went on to earn six Oscar nominations including an adapted screenplay win for Waititi. TIFF also has programmed French director Ladj Ly’s new feature Les Indésirables for its 48th edition.

Meanwhile, Michael Mann’s Ferrari with Adam Driver is Venice-bound and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things is also expected to land on the Lido.

However, despite many publicists and awards-season strategists knowing a SAG-AFTRA strike was imminent, the reality is just setting in, with no pivot plans in the works just yet.

“This has to get solved,” one awards strategist tells Deadline tonight. “There’s just too much money on the line for these movies.”

Taking a movie with a director to a film festival is natch the work-around solution; however, the question becomes whether distributors will shell out the T&E to do that, especially when there aren’t any casts to place on red carpets.

One public-relations czar heard that if a four-week strike occurs, studios can still pull off a star-heavy fall film festival season. The good news is that there’s still time to plan.

Hopefully, it’s not a situation like 2021, when film festivals were booking fewer movies due to the lingering pandemic. Said another awards-season strategist today, however, “It feels like we’re falling back to Covid times.”

Earlier today, the immediate effects of the SAG-AFTRA strike were felt around the world, with the Galway Film Fleadh in Ireland having to pull a Q&A tonight with actor and former SAG presidential candidate Matthew Modine.

Andreas Wiseman contributed to this report

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