VENICE, Italy – Hundreds of environmental activists staged a sit-in on the red carpet at Venice’s Film Festival on Saturday calling on the international community to declare a climate emergency, winning plaudits from Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and Canadian actor Donald Sutherland.
Jagger and Sutherland star alongside Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki in the movie “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” by director Guiseppe Capotondi, which was presented at the 76th edition of the festival.
Ahead of the press conference for the feature, around 300 members of the No Big Ships committee, which opposes the presence of large cruise ships in the Italian city, stormed the red carpet held signs with anti-fascist, anti-capitalist, pro-migrant and pro-environmental slogans.
There was a mix of Italian and foreign protesters, especially Germans, with many of them sympathizing with the Fridays for Future movement started by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Saturday marks the final day of the 11-day festival, which this year welcomed stars such as Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Scarlett Johansson.
“On a day when all eyes are focused on Venice, we want to recall that climate change is not a science fiction film but a reality that we are already experiencing,” the group said of the protest.
Both Jagger, 76, and Sutherland, 84, commented on the protests during their interaction with the press.
“I’m glad they’re doing that, because they’re the ones who are going to inherit the planet and we’re in a very difficult situation at the moment, especially in the US where all the environmental controls that were put in place that perhaps were just about adequate say for the last 10 years have been rolled back by the current administration,” he said.
He fell short of mentioning Donald Trump by name.
“I’m glad that people feel so strongly about what they want to protest anywhere, whether it’s a red carpet or in another place, so yeah, I’m absolutely behind that,” he added to applause from the gathered press.
Sutherland went more explicitly political.
“Mick is right when he says that the reforms that were instituted during the Obama administration were barely adequate and now they’re being torn apart, and they’re being torn apart in Brazil and they will be torn apart in England,” he said.
“When you’re 85-year-old and you have children and grandchildren, you will leave them nothing if we do not vote those people out of office in Brazil, in London, in Washington, they are ruining the world. We have contributed to the ruination of it, but they are ensuring it.”
“The Burnt Orange Heresy,” which is presented by the Italian moviemaker Capotondi in the Out of Competition category, tells the tale of two lovers, an art critic and an American who travels around Europe.
It closes this year’s edition of the Venice Film Festival.
No Big Ships has organized another protest in Venice’s Lido area later Saturday.