Netflix will not be going to Cannes this year, the streaming service’s chief office Ted Sarandos has confirmed.
Last year, Netflix had two films– Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories – in official competition at the prestigious film festival. However, rules this year have determined they can no longer compete unless they have been theatrically distributed.
According to Festival chief Thierry Fremaux, films “must go through theaters, box office, the critics, the passion of cinephiles, awards campaigns, books, directories, filmographies.”
Netflix movies were still allowed to be screened at the festival, but they would not be longer eligible to win the festival’s awards. In the wake of these changes, Netflix has pulled out of the festival altogether.
Sarandos told Variety that he didn’t think there was any reason to go out of competition, commenting that “the rule was implicitly about Netflix, and Thierry made it explicitly about Netflix when he announced the rule.”
He stated “film festivals are to help films get discovered so they can get distribution”, adding: “We loved the [Cannes film] festival. We love the experience for our filmmakers and for film lovers. It’s just that the festival has chosen to celebrate distribution rather than the art of cinema. We are 100% about the art of cinema. And by the way, every other festival in the world is too.”
Sarandos concluded: “We hope that they do change the rules. We hope that they modernize. But we will continue to support all films and all filmmakers. We encourage Cannes to rejoin the world cinema community and welcome them back. 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.”