April 12, 2018
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the streaming giant will not be heading to the Cannes Film Festival in May. This is in response to the festival banning films from playing in competition if they have not had theatrical distribution in France. “Netflix could screen some of its upcoming movies out of competition,” reports Variety, “but Sarandos says that doesn’t make sense for the streaming service.” “We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” he noted. “There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival.”
“They’ve set the tone,” he added. “I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.”
Last year, Netflix showed Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” and Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” in competiton.
However, “French theaters owners and unions protested the inclusion of these films to Thierry Frémaux, the artistic director of Cannes,” Variety explains. “Netflix was amenable to having their movies play on big screens in France, but a law in the country requires movies to not appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.”
“We encourage Cannes to rejoin the world cinema community and welcome them back,” Sarandos told Variety in an interview. “Thierry had said in his comments when he announced his change that the history of the Internet and the history of Cannes are two different things. Of course they are two different things. But we are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that’s fine.”