No Netflix movies at Cannes, company regrets ban

© Le Courrier Australien

Another week, another article on streaming giant Netflix. While the company continues to crank out content (see our article here on Netflix pushing localized content), it seems that others in the industry aren’t too happy to help Netflix grow even bigger. Case in point: the Cannes Film Festival. While Netflix screened Okja last year at this prestigious film festival, they’ve decided to drop out all-together this time around.

Cause for all of this is Cannes not allowing Netflix to have its movies compete in the competition for awards. Last year Netflix’s Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories were allowed to participate, yet now Cannes is enforcing its rules which mandate that competing movies must screen in cinemas. Although Netflix could’ve signed up its movies outside of competition, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos decided to opt out entirely, saying the following in Variety:

Thierry announced the change in their qualification rules [that] requires a film to have distribution in France to get in, which is completely contrary to the spirit of any film festival in the world. Film festivals are to help films get discovered so they can get distribution. Under those rules, we could not release our films day-and-date to the world like we’ve released nearly 100 films over the last couples of years. And if we did that, we’d have to hold back that film from French subscribers for three years under French law. Therefore, our films they are not qualified for the Cannes Film Festival competition.

One person who was not happy with Netflix’ decision was Beatrice Welles, daughter of Orson Welles. Netflix put some money forward to complete the late filmmaker’s unfinished film The Other Side of the Wind (shot originally between 1970 and 1976) and will now not be screening the film at this year’s festival. In an email to Sarandos she had the following to say:

I saw how the big production companies destroyed his life, his work, and in so doing a little bit of the man I loved so much. I would so hate to see Netflix be yet another one of these companies.

It has not led to Netflix going back on its decision to opt out of the festival. Instead they reiterated Sarandos’ point in an official statement:

We will continue to celebrate our films and filmmakers at other festivals around the world but unfortunately we will have to sit out Cannes for now so that our growing French membership can continue to enjoy our original films.

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