The Cannes Film Festival is now effectively the Cannes Cinema Festival. As a result of new rules that require all movies to be screened in French cinema, Netflix is officially banned from competing for the Palme d'Or, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Bonjour et au revoir
Last year, Netflix went to Cannes, France, with two of its movies, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories. It caused an uproar from the cinema industry, despite none of the two titles winning any prices.
No longer. Netflix has been banned from the competition in Cannes as a result of new rules.
- “The Netflix people loved the red carpet and would like to be present with other films. But they understand that the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours,” said Thierry Fremaux, head of the Cannes Festival.
Fremaux added that he had hoped he could convince Netflix to release its movies in French cinemas.
- “Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. I was presumptuous, they refused.”
But it is not that simple. French law dictates that any movie that gets screened in the cinema must be held back for at least 36 months before it can appear on subscription services. Netflix has in the past released some of its movies theatrically and online at the same time. This would simply not be possible in France.
A new “hybrid” format?
Netflix has not commented publicly on the ban but has previously said that the viewers financing movies should be the first ones to enjoy them, meaning Netflix subscribers.
Fremaux acknowledged that new powerful players are emerging and that the line between movies and “TV movies” may not be as clear cut as some, including Steven Spielberg, make it out to be. He concedes that it may be a kind of “hybrid” format.
- “We have to take into account the existence of these powerful new players: Amazon, Netflix and maybe soon Apple,” said Fremaux.
However, that does not change the fact that Netflix is out. The company can still show its movies at the festival but not compete in the competition for the Palme d’Or - the Golden Palm.