They’ve made it official – Netflix has opted not to show any films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, just one day before the annual shindig unveils this year’s line-up.
Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos tells Varietythat the festival sent a clear message with a new rule for this year, instituted by fest chief Thierry Fremaux, that bans any films without theatrical distribution in France from playing in competition.
Netflix was able to screen some of its upcoming movies out of competition, but Sarandos says they’ve chosen not to and makes it pretty clear – they don’t want to go where they’re not going to be given a fair go:
“We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker. There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They’ve set the tone. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there….
I don’t think there would be any reason to go out of competition. The rule was implicitly about Netflix, and Thierry made it explicitly about Netflix when he announced the rule…
It is not a coincidence that Thierry also banned selfies this year, I don’t know what other advances in media Thierry would like to address.”
Sarandos says he still wishes he could be part of the festival because of his love of films and the companies dedication to the art of cinema no matter how it is distributed:
“We loved the 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… 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.”
Netflix will still be in attendance at the fest though, purchasing films that are seeking distribution.