Netflix has announced that it will not be screening films at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
The decision comes after Thierry Fremaux, the festival’s artistic director, confirmed in March that films without a planned theatrical release in France would be ineligible to compete for main prizes.
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In an interview with Variety, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that the festival’s organisers had “set the tone” with their decision, and that if they went along and screened films out of competition there would be “a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival.”
“We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” he added.
Netflix had been expected to screen major new films from Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron and Paul Greengrass. New Netflix TV series Safe starring Michael C Hall and Amanda Abbington however will still be screened at the Canneseries television festival.
Last year, Netflix’s Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories competed in the festival, leading to protests from French cinema owners. While both of the films had short stints in the cinema in other countries that coincided with their release on Netflix, French law states that movies cannot be available on home entertainment platforms for 36 months after first appearing in cinemas. This conflicts with Netflix’s release policy.
Last month, Steven Spielberg said that he believed Netflix films should be ineligible for the Oscars.
““Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” he told ITV News. “You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theatres for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”