In Deauville, the strike of American actors in the spotlight

By Lise Tavelet

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Bruno Barde, director of the Deauville American film festival, supports the strike movement which is paralyzing Hollywood and sees in the use of artificial intelligence “an absolute aporia”. LOU BENOIST / AFP

The American film festival organized a round table on Saturday on the strike in Hollywood and the changes at work in the 7th art. French professionals are also sounding the alarm.

From our journalist in Deauville,

Filming suspended, releases postponed like the highly anticipated second part of Dunesproductions at a standstill – in Hollywood, the strike continues and does not weaken. It deprives the 49th edition of the Deauville American Film Festival of its most prestigious guests of honor (Natalie Portman, Jude Law). To make festival-goers better understand the shock wave that grips the 7th art across the Atlantic and whose consequences will very quickly be tangible on our French screens, the Normandy event organized a round table on Saturday “Strike in Hollywood: the mutations of cinema“. In front of a large audience, Alexandre Pachulski, doctor in computer science, specialized in Artificial Intelligence, Xavier Lardoux, former director of cinema and audiovisual at the CNC, the Franco-American director Sophie Barthes who presents in Deauville The Pod Generation and producer Michèle Halberstadt set the stakes.

Xavier Lardoux pointed out the role of platforms in triggering the crisis. Netflix and others do not report movie viewing counts on their sites. In the absence of circulation figures, it is impossible to ess the amount of the residuals, ie royalties and their additional remuneration. “This movement was predictable“, Continues the one who is now director of Adami (Civil society for the administration of the rights of artists and performers). And to quote the 1960 strike, which lasted six months. “They look strangely alike“, he recalls. “At the time, the exponential expansion of television threatened cinema; today it is artificial intelligence.»

“An istant at the service of human creation”

With the proliferation of artificial intelligence software, the four professionals call for political regulation – which the platforms reject. “You should already have guarantees, such as creating an obligation of transparency, but also having the possibility of refusing to have your work taken over by an artificial intelligence.“says Xavier Lardoux in unison with the director of Deauville Bruno Barde who fears “an absolute aporia” of the world of fiction.

Read also“We are fighting for our survival”: in Hollywood, the strike is not cinema

“Lartificial intelligence shuffles data“, decrypts Alexandre Pachulski, doctor in computer science and specialist in artificial intelligence. In other words, no ex nihilo creation – the machine is only responsible for storing and collecting millions of data, while allowing users to create new ones. “At this rate, in 100 years, Chat GPT will have written the screenplay for Indiana Jones 14, still with Harrison Ford!he exclaims. “There is a societal crisis. Artificial intelligences are supplanting humans in just about every industry. But in one area at a time. Creation is the last human bastion“Warns Alexandre Pachulski. “There is no point of view in the AI, it is an istant in the service of creation. And everything that comes out of this software must be stamped as such.»

“It’s not a strike of the rich”

Everyone is for this strike except, perhaps, the six bosses of GAFAMSsums up the journalist from Le Monde, Laurent Carpentier, who is leading the debate. Michèle Halberstadt, producer and co-founder of ARP Sélection who defends in Deauville Our lives beforewould like to point out that “this is not a strike of the rich“. And to add:of the 160,000 unionized actors, 86% live on incomes of less than $26,000 a year“.

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On strike since May the screenwriters have been reached by the actors on July 14, under the aegis of the powerful SAG-Aftra union. Without an agreement, Hollywood is paralyzed and prevents any promotion and distribution of its films. Sophie Barthes, Franco-American director, who came to present her film The Pod Generation (produced by the independent studio A24), draws a parallel in conclusion: “we meet as in Oppenheimer. We make the atomic bomb because we have the right to do so, and no one tells us that we shouldn’t. With the same false excuse “if we don’t do it, the others will”“.

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