Stand Up for Your Rights! Italian Celebrities and Actors' Struggles during the Pandemic Authors
Pubblicato in: Cinergie, vol. 21, 2022, pp. 63-72.
Italian actors are a weakly protected and chronically crumbled category: after decades of inertia the pandemic pushed to a cohesive mobilization of the performers, which stood and fought openly in defense of their rights. In the following months, many actors have revived the debate, mostly online, and through social media. They made calls and petitions, requesting economic aid and a regulatory framework to protect their rights. The most active organization is U.N.I.T.A. (Unione Nazionale Interpreti Teatro e Audiovisivo), an association founded during the most critical times of the pandemic, led by Vittoria Puccini and other well-known Italian actors. U.N.I.T.A.’s public statements primarily dealt with the problems related to the pandemic crisis to get, nowadays, to more complex (and rather old) issues related to the qualification and recognition of the actor’s professional role: rights of publicity in the new mediascape (for instance, streaming performances), the urgency of a guarantee fund, gender equality, the establishment of a professional register. In light of the above, the aim of the paper is firstly to reconstruct these actors’ collective stance-taking initiatives and the ways in which they were organized and promoted. Secondly, the contribution will analyze how this network activity has increased the professional recognition and relevance of the actor in the Italian media production field. Reflecting on the activity of networking, the analysis will consider how a traditionally fragmented category is now developing a consciousness of its role as a political intermediary and cultural endorser, also in the context of school education.