Netflix films banned from competition at Cannes Film Festival

The Meyerowitz Stories was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or and was met with backlash from jury president of the festival, Pedro Almodovar.

The Meyerowitz Stories was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or and was met with backlash from jury president of the festival, Pedro Almodovar.

Max Jimenez, Staff Writer

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Late last month Thierry Fremaux, the head of the Cannes Film Festival, announced that any of the streaming service’s content would be ineligible for any awards at the festival. The reason behind this, Fremaux says, is because of Netflix’s decision to release their films exclusively on their platform and not in a traditional cinema. The films will not be eligible for the famous Palme d’Or, which is awarded to the overall best film in competition at the festival every May. Although these films are ineligible for competition, Cannes will still allow their films to be showcased at the festival.

In its 71st year, the prestigious French film festival has made this decision as a result of Netflix wanting to debut films on its streaming service and a law known as French cultural exception, which has specific requirements for when films can move from theaters to other platforms like video-on-demand, television and streaming.

For the 2017 festival, Netflix tried to get temporary permits to screen the films for less than a week in France, allowing for a day-and-date release so the films could be seen in theaters and online at the same time, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories were in competition last year, much to the displeasure of many at the festivals, as they were “Netflix-only” films. Speaking on the two films from Netflix Fremaux told Le Film Français “Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in theaters, “I was presumptuous: They refused.”

With the boom of streaming in recent years, it will be interesting to see if other prestigious film festivals such as Sundance and TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) will follow suit in barring streaming-only movies from competing for top prize in their respective competitions.

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