Neve Campbell’s Unique Promotion Amid Actors’ Strike at Toronto Film Festival


Navigating the fraught territory of a prominent actors’ strike, Neve Campbell, a familiar face from Hollywood known for her roles in the Canadian “Scream”, and “Party of Five”, emerged amongst the flurry of celebrity activity at the Toronto International Film Festival. While there, she engaged in a careful promotion of her upcoming Canadian ballet documentary, “Swan Song”. As per strike rules, Campbell’s involvement in the promotion of this particular project was acceptable given her role as a producer, the Canadian origins of the production, and her absence from in front of the camera.

Campbell, formerly a dancer herself, recalled the challenges of promoting this project while adhering to strike regulations. “Many have expressed curiosity about my film projects but unfortunately, under the current circumstances, I cannot satisfy their queries,” Campbell shared. Her documentary is slated for theatrical release on Sept. 22 in Toronto, with an accompanying four-part series set to air on CBC in November.

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Prominent Hollywood figures have often been a compelling drawcard at this 11-day film extravaganza. However, the ongoing job action by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists means that several highly anticipated premieres will feature no screen stars. Films left starless for their Saturday premieres include “Mother, Couch”, starring Ewan McGregor and Rhys Ifans, “Lee”, with Kate Winslet, Alexander Skarsgård, Marion Cotillard and Andy Samberg, and “Ezra”, featuring Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, and Robert De Niro.

Even amidst these circumstances, Brian Helgeland, the writer/director of “Finestkind”, displayed a willingness to “bear the banner” for his crime drama premiering on Friday. An experienced member of the Writers Guild of America, Helgeland understands the accompanying disappointments for festival-goers in this situation. Commenting on the absence of his film’s stars such as Tommy Lee Jones, Jenna Ortega, and Ben Foster, he ruefully remarked, “Nobody will ever want to see me as much as they will want to see Jenna Ortega.”

Both the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America are striking in the hopes of establishing new labour contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the agency which represents major studios and streaming platforms.

In these ongoing industrial disputes, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, has been a prominent figure on the circuit. Advocating for enhanced compensation and job protections for union members, he’s expected to make an appearance at a joint rally with the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television Radio Artists (ACTRA) outside major tech company headquarters in Toronto.

Meanwhile, passionate cinephiles have remained steadfast in their admiration for the art of cinema and industry workers, despite the lack of star power at this year’s festival. Sisters Gia and Lia Ui exemplified this spirit after paying $177 for premium tickets to Anna Kendrick’s directorial debut, “Woman of the Hour.” Although slightly disappointed by Kendrick’s absence, they cherished their opportunity to see Patricia Arquette and Camila Morrone appear for “Gonzo Girl”, celebrating their “first TIFF experience that featured the entire cast in the Q-and-A”.