Cannes chiefs on Netflix debate: "Everything will change in the four or five years to come"

Screen | 4/18/2019 | Ben Dalton
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Speaking at the 2019 Official Selection press conference, Cannes director Thierry Frémaux and president Pierre Lescure addressed the ongoing debate about the absence of Netflix titles at the festival, with Lescure saying the festival “did well” in sticking to its rules.

To appear in Competition at Cannes, a film must have theatrical distribution in France, disqualifying Netflix titles released directly onto the streaming platform. This caused Alfonso Cuarón’s multiple Oscar-winning ROMA to miss out on a Cannes spot in 2018, instead premiering in Venice in October.

Frémaux - Year - Inclusion - Netflix - Titles

Frémaux, who last year said “we’ll see about 2019” for the inclusion of Netflix titles, said, “They are not there yet. We understand that perfectly well. Netflix has a business but also a political model. We talked to each other the day before yesterday, but the rule of Cannes is that films must be released in theatres, and in France.”

“Especially when we are encouraged by Steven Spielberg and Jean-Luc Godard, we are not ready to welcome films in Competition that will not see their audience in the theatre.”

Lescure - Frémaux - Words - Festival - Choice

Lescure echoed Frémaux’s words, saying the festival made the right choice in adhering to its regulations. “We did well. Netflix doesn’t want to play the rule of the territory, so we will suspend their involvement.“

He also noted the competitors to the streaming giant as a factor. “It’s not simply a match played last year between us, ROMA, Netflix and Venice. There are new players on the block. Netflix enjoys spectacular development, but what was their last communication? It was 48 hours ago – ‘Don’t worry, Amazon and Disney+ are coming, but it’s not the same content, we’re not in danger.’”

”What’s...
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