Netflix Backs Out Of Cannes Film Festival

By Creative Media Times

Well this certainly makes it official. According a report in Variety, streaming giant Netflix will not be screening any of its films at the festival.

“We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” says Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “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. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.”

Though stunning, the decision isn’t surprising as there has been speculation in the past few days that Netflix would not be participating. This comes after last year’s controversy at Cannes where two Netflix films, Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” played at the festival and competed for the Palme d’Or, but did not play in the cinemas in France, something which French theater exhibitors reportedly protested against.

Shortly after last year’s opening ceremonies, the festival changed its rules which states that that no movies will be play in competition if they’re not committed to be released in French theaters.

Last month, festival director Thierry Fremaux said that Netflix could play their films outside of competition, though effectively ineligible to play in the competition for refusing theatrical distribution in France.

“I don’t think there would be any reason to go out of competition. The rule was implicitly about Netflix, and Thierry made it explicitly about Netflix when he announced the rule,” Sarandos tells Variety.

Cannes Film Festival will run from May 8 to 19, with the competition jury headed by Cate Blanchett. Asghar Farhadi’s psychological thriller “Everybody Knows” starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem is scheduled to open the festival.