Netflix is given another reason to stay in its lane when it comes to its movies.
New competition rules and adjustments made for The Cannes Film Fest would no longer allow the streaming giant’s original films to vie for the top awards.
Cannes Film Festival head Theirry Fremaux told Le Film Francais that this is how everything should have been in the first place, seemingly regretting giving recognition to “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” last year.
“I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. I was presumptuous, they refused,” Fremaux went on to say.
He added that while Netflix “loved” taking part in the prestigious awards ceremony, they also have to understand that “the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours.”
Fremaux said that with the emergence of streamers like Netflix and Amazon, they are forced to “defend the image of a risk-prone festival, questioning the cinema, and we must be at the table every year.
This was understood by Birth Movies Death as the Cannes taking up the mission to define how the new distribution model these companies offer can affect the nature of the features in the festival.
It is to be noted that Netflix films will still be screened in one of the sidebar sections of the event, they just would not be up for any awards. The abovementioned publication believes that even this setup gives the streaming giant a valuable venue for greater recognition of their movies.
Either way, the utmost rule now is that films that will be up for awards at the Cannes Film Fest will also have to commit to theater distribution. Fremaux is not closing his doors though, telling Variety that they might have to find the middle ground with Netflix and Amazon at some point.
But right now, to him, a film can only truly be a part of history when it goes through “theaters, box office, the critics, the passion of cinephiles, awards campaigns, books, directories, [and] filmographies.”
The Cannes Film Fest rule change comes just days after renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg made his point about barring Netflix films from winning Academy Awards.
In an interview with ITV News, he said that Netflix should commit to their format, so the original films the company releases should be seen as TV movies.
The Netflix film “13th” by Ava Duvernay was recognized at the Oscars in 2016. On the other hand, the movie “Mudbound” by Dee Rees got a one-week theatrical release after gaining major award recognitions.
“You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination,” he said.
“A lot of studios today would rather just make branded, tentpole, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded successful movies than take chances on smaller films. Those smaller films that studios used make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Television is really thriving with quality and art. But it poses a clear and present danger to film goers,” the director, who is currently promoting his new film “Ready Player One” went on to say.