(Toronto) Major Hollywood studios and platforms have made no move toward striking actors and writers since negotiations ended in July, the actors’ union negotiator said Thursday, urging them to return to negotiate a deal fair, at the opening of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who leads negotiations on behalf of the approximately 160,000 film and television actors affiliated with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), provided an update on the strike at the opening of the event.

In mid-July, actors joined screenwriters in this first massive strike in 63 years to demand an improvement in their pay and working conditions, bringing the entire film and television production industry to a halt. .

Asked about the progress of the negotiations, Mr. Crabtree-Ireland said: “The studios have not come back to the table. They didn’t say they wanted to come back. […] For 56 days now. »

The negotiator – who came to the red carpet at the premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s feature film The Boy and the Heron, one of the most anticipated of the films selected by the festival – said it was “high time” to move forward in the discussions.

“I urge them to return to the negotiating table to reach a fair agreement. This is the only way to end the strike. »

The walkouts paralyzed a number of productions, but also disrupted the progress of festivals scheduled for this fall, with many actors not going to the premieres of their films to respect the ban decided by their union, SAG-AFTRA, on promoting productions from major studios and platforms.

Some exceptions were, however, tolerated.

Mr. Crabtree-Ireland said he came to Toronto “to show our support for film festivals, in particular this one,” and to encourage union members to promote works for which temporary agreements have been reached.

“It supports our strike movement, it helps our struggle, when projects carried out thanks to an agreement on our demands are successful,” he said.

According to him, more than 1,200 independent producers signed the agreement proposed by the union on the last day of negotiations, believing that “they realized that the terms of this agreement were reasonable, realistic and achievable. »

Actress and producer Patricia Arquette, who made her directorial debut with Gonzo Girl, which starred Willem Dafoe and screened Thursday in Toronto, wore a large SAG-AFTRA union badge, and said on the red carpet: “We fully support our union, this is a very important strike for us”.

At a screening of her film North Star, the directorial debut of actress Kristin Scott Thomas, producer Finola Dwyer said stars Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Emily Beecham and the director “would have loved” to be there, but were “firmly committed” to the movement.

Toronto festival CEO Cameron Bailey told AFP his team had learned a lot about the “important issues” in the negotiations, particularly concerns over the use of artificial intelligence in arts projects, and said hope that an agreement will be reached soon.

“We all need it, for the good of the industry and the film culture,” he said.