First came a rule which barred any film from entering the 2018 Cannes Film Festival’s competition line-up unless a French theatrical release was guaranteed. Then yesterday Netflix revealed it was pulling all films from the festival, including out of competition entries.
Now Fremaux has responded to Netflix’s withdrawal whilst speaking at the festival lineup’s press conference this morning in Paris. Fremaux says it’s a shame not to have movies backed by the streaming giant at the festival in some form, but they remain “welcome in Cannes” and despite all reports, there has been “constructive dialogue” between the streamer and the fest.
He added that the length of France’s theatrical window was the sticking point for Netflix. France has a law under which films released theatrically will not be able to hit streaming services until at least three years later. Fremaux also says the rule that competition movies must have theatrical distribution is decades old but only became an issue last year.
Fremaux added that Cannes had wanted two Netflix movies this year, an unnamed movie in competition and the long-in-the-works restoration of Orson Welles’ “The Other Side Of The Wind” for an out of competition slot. The late Welles previously won the Palme d’Or and served as head of the festival’s jury.
Welles’ daughter has now sent a letter (via Variety) asking Netflix to “reconsider [their stance] and let my father’s work be the movie that bridges the gap between Netflix and Cannes”. Netflix was key to financing and restoring the film, and without them it wouldn’t have happened.
Netflix films routinely play at other major festivals without issue.