Strike 3: French crews walk again

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PARIS -- French film production workers began a strike Wednesday, their third over the past four months, to protest long hours and meager pay, upsetting several film shoots in the territory.

"Hundreds of people" lined up outside state-run film administrator CNC's headquarters in protest, according to a CNC spokesperson.

While most films resumed production Thursday, many workers continued to strike, halting production on eight films, including Alfred Lot's "La Chambre des Morts" (Room of the Dead), Jean-Marc Moutout's "Exclusif" (Exclusive), Olivier Bayroux's "Ce soir je dors chez toi" (Tonight I'm Sleeping at Your Place) and Isabelle Mergault's "Enfin Veuf."

Jean Becker's "Deux jours a tuer" (Two Days to Kill), Jacques Maillot's "Les liens du sang" (Blood Ties) and Stephane Kazandjian's "Modern Love" resumed production Thursday after temporary interruptions.

"French film technicians are hard workers. It's not in their culture to strike. They just want to get their message across, but they're not out to completely paralyze film shoots," Film France's Patrick Lamassoure explained, adding that many workers who chose to strike Wednesday still planned to make up for lost hours over the weekend.

Production on Anne-Marie Etienne's Carole Bouquet starrer "Un Amour Exemplaire" (A Perfect Love) was blocked Wednesday, but filming will wrap only one day later than previously planned.

"There's a solidarity among all of the workers. We couldn't film yesterday, but we were warned in advance. We hope that the producers and workers unions will come to an agreement in good faith," Thelma Films producer David Poirot said.

Some shoots weren't affected at all, such as Cedric Anger's "Le Tueur" (The Killer) produced by Sunrise Films. Foreign shoots were also unaffected by the strike aimed at French producers who control the workers' salaries directly, though workers unions are hoping for governmental intervention from Cultural Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

Stephane Pozderec, head of French film production workers' cross-party union, the SNTPCT (Syndicat National des Technicians et Travailleurs de la Production Cinematographique et de la Television), met with the cultural ministry Thursday to negotiate amendments to workers' contracts.

The SNTPCT will meet with producers groups and other workers unions Friday to negotiate a solution.

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