Netflix will not bring any films to this year’s Cannes film festival after a new rule change.
In an interview with Variety, the company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said Netflix will not change its release strategy after Cannes insisted competing titles at the festival receive theatrical distribution in France. Of the company pulling out, Sarandos said: “It was not our decision to make.”
Last year, Netflix brought Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories to the Croisette, which led to protests from French cinema owners. French law states that movies cannot be available on home platforms for 36 months after being shown in cinemas. This would directly conflict with Netflix’s day-on-date release for their films.
This year, Thierry Fremaux, the festival’s artistic director, imposed a ban on movies competing for the main prizes without a theatrical release. Sarandos called the decision “completely contrary to the spirit of any film festival in the world”.
Although Netflix could show films out of competition, Sarandos has claimed it would be unlikely. “We want our films to be on fair ground with every other film-maker,” he said. “There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and film-makers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They’ve set the tone. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.”
This year’s lineup is yet to be announced but Netflix removing films from consideration would mean new pictures from Alfonso Cuarón and Paul Greengrass would miss out.
“We hope that they do change the rules,” Sarandos said. “We hope that they modernize. But we will continue to support all films and all film-makers. We encourage Cannes to rejoin the world cinema community and welcome them back.”
Earlier on Wednesday, 2018’s official festival poster was released, before Thursday’s announcement of which films will be premiering. Everybody Knows, a psychological thriller from The Salesman director Asghar Farhadi, has been revealed as the opening film, while new projects from Lars von Trier, Claire Denis and Jacques Audiard are also predicted.
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