Toni Garrn leads arrivals on the opening night of Venice Film Festival

The writers strike sinks Venice! Toni Garrn leads a not-so-star-studded red carpet filled with obscure actors and even a Love Island contestant as A-listers bow out of 80th annual Film Festival’s opening night

Venice International Film Festival normally attracts the great and good of Hollywood as they descend on the Lido to promote their upcoming movies.

However this year told a different tale, as stars were unable to attend the 80th anniversary event due to ongoing acting strikes in the industry.

German model Toni Garrn was among one of the only stars to attend the festival’s opening on Wednesday evening, a night which would normally be overflowing with the biggest names in the business.

The model, 31, led the star-studded red carpet as she was among the first to arrive at the premiere for Edoardo De Angelis’ Comandante at Sala Grande.

Toni looked incredible in a strapless dress which was adorned in large square sequins all over, offering a stunning shimmering effect.

Glam: Toni Garrn made a striking arrival on the red carpet on the opening night of the 80th Venice International Film Festival on Wednesday evening

Heres she is!  The model, 31, led the star-studded red carpet as she was among the first to arrive at the premiere for Edoardo De Angelis’ Comandante at Sala Grande

Focus: Stars were unable to attend the 80th anniversary event due to ongoing strikes in the industry (pictured Alexi Hawley, Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulrony and Dermot Mulroney on the picket line on August 25)

Glowing: Toni looked incredible in a strapless dress which was adorned in large square sequins all over, offering a stunning shimmering effect

She simply accessorised her evening attire with a diamond choker, while otherwise keeping the attention on her eye-catching gown.

The German native wore her blonde locks swept up into a neat bun, while leaving some strands loose to frame her pretty features. 

The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world, with its 80th edition opening today.

The festival opens with the premiere of Italian World War Two film Comandante, directed by Edoardo De Angelis. The event will run until September 9 and closes with a Spanish-language Netflix drama Society of the Snow. 

The Festival takes place on the Venice Lido – the so-called beach of Venice – a thin barrier island in the Venetian Lagoon, which is a short boat trip from the main city of Venice. Unlike Venice itself, cars have access to the Lido.

The festival marks the start of the awards season and regularly throws up big favourites for the Oscars. Eight of the past 11 best director awards at the Oscars went to films that debuted at Venice.

There are several categories making up the official selection of films shown, the top being those competing for the coveted Golden Lion award. 

New films by directors including Bradley Cooper, Yorgos Lanthimos, David Fincher, Michael Mann, Sofia Coppola, Ava DuVernay and Ryusuke Hamaguchi will compete for the prestigious award.

Movie stars and directors traditionally enjoy travelling to the lagoon city to launch their films. However, this year will offer a bit less sparkle than usual because a Hollywood actors’ strike will prevent many stars from promoting their work here.

The festival’s artistic director Alberto Barbera is putting a brave face on the expected disruption and has managed to attract one of the strongest line-ups in recent years, defying dire predictions of a mass no-show by big studio productions.

Sequin sensation: She simply accessorised her evening attire with a diamond choker, while otherwise keeping the attention on her eye-catching gown

Hello! Toni waved to the cameras while posing for photographs on the red carpet

Pose! Toni flashed a winning smile and rested her hands on her hips

Perfection: Toni took a minute to readjust her dress

Glowing: Toni flashed a beaming smile as she posed for the camera

Leggy: Bianca Balti looked incredible in a pale blue dress with a racy thigh slit

Glitzy: Bianca accessorised with a selection of gold and diamond jewllery

Daring! American actress Ronni Hawk took the plunge in a low-cut black sequin dress

‘We know that some talent will not be able to attend … But some others will come because they are working in the independent films. So everything is good. It looks very positive.’ 

Away from Venice’s picture-perfect canals, a sense of crisis pervades the movie-making business, with strikes by both the main U.S. actors and writers’ unions bringing much of the entertainment industry to a standstill. 

‘If the strikes last longer, it will have a huge, negative impact on the next (release) season and the awards season as well,’ Barbera said.

Nobody in Hollywood wants to be seen doing the wrong thing by the strikers and the whole film and TV industry has ground to a complete stop.

The writers union, the WGA, went on strike on May 2nd, and were followed by SAG-AFTRA, the actors union, on July 14th.

Ferrari actors (and writers) can attend with out breaking the strikes as the film has been given an exemption because it was made by an independent, Neon, not a studio.

The stars of the film Priscilla, about Priscilla Presley’s life, can also attend without breaking the strike as it was made in Canada.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Priscilla has a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement which would allow cast including Jacob Elordi – who plays Elvis – to come. It’s not clear whether he will though.

Priscilla Presley, on whose 1985 memoir it is based, is expected to attend. She is an actress, herself, having appeared in Dallas and the Naked Gun films.

Most other stars have no option but to stay away. Bradley Cooper, who wrote, produced stars in and directed Maestro, about the conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, will not be in Venice to see possibly the defining film of his career premiere. It is by Netflix, who are a struck company.

A festival spokesman confirmed last month that he would not attend in solidarity with the strike by the actors union SAG-AFTRA.

The film Challengers, a tennis and three-somes drama starring Zendaya and Josh O’Connor, of The Crown, was going to open the festival but that dropped after the actor’s came on strike in July.

The prestige film Poor Things, an adaptation of a Frankenstein-esque gothic tale starring Emma Stone, will premiere at the festival but star Emma Stone and the rest of the cast will not be there.

Ferrari is a film by renowned director Michael Man and examines three months in the life of Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the car company. He has money trouble, is grieving his son who died, and has a child with his mistress – which is discovered by his wife.

The SAG-AFTRA strike is the latest of ongoing employee disputes in Hollywood.

The action has brought the industry to a virtual standstill, forcing many film and TV productions to shut down, and marks the first time in more than 60 years that both actors and writers have gone on strike.

The WGA strike, which saw writers crossing the picket line, has been going on since early May.

Under the rules of a strike, all Sag-aftra members will not be able to film any movie or TV series – which means that almost every show and film that’s currently in the works will be delayed indefinitely until the problem is resolved.

British union Equity, the sister organisation to Sag-aftra, said in a statement in July that they are are ‘full square [sic] behind’ their US counterpart.

British actors including Brian Cox, Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis have also been among those supporting the US strike.

On July 21, dozens of actors and performers descended on London’s Leicester Square in solidarity with their colleagues in the US, who have walked out in protest at the pay and conditions in the industry.

Red carpet: Charlotte Rampling and Liliana Cavani attend the opening red carpet

Taking to the stage: Charlotte made a speech during the opening ceremony

Smile! Charlotte posed with her arm wrapped around Liliana

Golden Lion: Lilana was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award

Glowing: Love Island’s Jourdan Riane made an unlikely appearance at the festival

Radiant: Jourdan wore dewy make-up in a bronze pallet

Quiet arrival: Rita Ora was seen arriving in Venice wearing a sheer top and white fur jacket

Showstopping: Rita’s body suit featured sequin and sheer panelling, teamed with a pair of towering platform heels

High spirits: Rita flashed a beaming smile as she made her way to shore

The strike was authorized after SAG-AFTRA failed to reach a deal with some of the biggest studios in Hollywood, per CNN.

Actors on strike are calling for higher wages as well as protections against artificial intelligence.

SAG-AFTRA – Screen Actors Guild Federation of Radio and Television Artists – announced in late July that negotiations from studios had ended without a deal.

They were asking for higher pay to counteract inflation, as well as changes to how actors earn residuals – which are earned every time a show they starred in airs on network or cable.

The reason why they are asking for changes to residuals is because streamers like Disney Plus and Netflix do not disclose viewing figures for their shows and offer the same flat rate for everything on their platform.

Another element is Artificial Intelligence – and studios using their digital likeness without their permission or proper compensation.

The union leadership voted for a work stoppage to begin at midnight after their demands were not met.

Under the rules of the strike, members of SAG-AFTRA cannot promote anything, take part in any press to promote a project, or film a movie or TV series.

Fan Drescher, who is the current president of SAG-AFTRA announced the strike in July.

‘We demand respect! You cannot exist without us!’ she said.

‘What happens to us is important. What’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labor.’

‘When employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and they forget about the essential contributors who make the machine run, we have a problem.’

‘The jig is up, we demand respect,’ The Nanny actress said.

In a statement following the strike announcement, the Association of Motion Pictures and Television Producers said it was disappointed in the breakdown in negotiations.

‘This is the Union’s choice, not ours. In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more,’ the group said in a statement.

It said it had agreed to ‘the highest percentage increase in minimums in 35 years, a ‘substantial increase’ in pension and health contribution caps and an 11 percent increase in one year for background actors, stand-ins and photo doubles and an additional 17 percent increase for background actors required to do extensive self-styling.

Stars: Amy Adams carrying a SAG-AFTRA On Strike, adding the word ‘Human’ to it during her picket; seen with Elizabeth Banks

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