Arthouse cinema group CICAE (the International Confederation of Art Cinemas), which represents a bunch of film exhibitors in Europe, has labelled the Venice Film Festival’s inclusion of multiple Netflix films in its line-up a “momentous mistake”.
Netflix’s “Marriage Story,” “The Laundromat” and “The King” all played at the fest and have generated much buzz and conversation. Today though CICAE sent out a long letter criticizing Venice, other festivals and the streamer with their model that does away with the theatrical window.
Francois Ayme, the President of CICAE’s French chapter, said the industry was at a ‘turning point’:
“The co-operation between the main events (Cannes, Venice, Berlin), all facing Netflix with a united front, could once again compel the platform to reconsider its position. Nothing is irreversible and the conundrum over the release of Martin Scorsese’s new movie clearly shows that nothing is settled.
For the last sixty years, if national television channels wanted to have their place in the sun on the Lido, they had to respect some rules; co-produce films and diffuse them after their releases in cinemas. Should the global online platforms be exempted de facto from these obligations?
General interest in films only comes after the special interest of a powerful company and the short-term vision of a festival largely funded by public money. Small companies are obliged to pay their taxes while multinational carry out tax optimisation.
Netflix is just like a large restaurant chain which would like to get three Michelin stars. It does have the ambition and the financial means, but it does not have the essence, let alone the vocation. Supporting and communication this ambition without negotiation is to betray the initial mission of a major festival, which must defend the works first and foremost.”
Heading into Venice, the International Union Of Cinemas (UNIC) also called for all films screening at festivals to have a full theatrical release. But overall backlash to Netflix has been much quieter this year as it seems acceptance of the new release paradigm has begun to take effect.