Netflix pulls out of Cannes Film Festival

A day before the line-up for the event was due to be announced, Netflix has confirmed that it won’t be taking any of its films to the Cannes Film Festival this year.

The festival has had a bumpy relationship with Netflix, specifically due to the streaming service’s bypassing of a proper cinema release for its projects. A rule was thus introduced for this year by Cannes Film Festival boss Thierry Fremaux, that meant any films that didn’t get a theatrical release in France couldn’t play in competition. Which, given that Netflix is funding films for its own service, puts it in the crosshairs.

Netflix could still screen its movies at the festival out of competition, but it’s elected not to do so.

Chatting to Variety, Netflix’s chief content officer (there’s a modern job title for you) explained that “we want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker. 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”.

He added that “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”.

And just for good measure, he also said that “it is not a coincidence that Thierry also banned selfies this year, I don’t know what other advances in media Thierry would like to address”.

Thierry, for his part, has not responded to Netflix’s withdrawal.

Netflix representatives will still be in attendance at Cannes, albeit now simply looking to buy films that are seeking some form of distribution.


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