Netflix pulls out of Cannes Film Festival in growing dispute

NEW YORK — Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, on Wednesday said the streaming giant is pulling its films from the Cannes Film Festival, further intensifying an ongoing dispute between Netflix and the world’s most prestigious film festival.

Cannes earlier banned any films without theatrical distribution in France from its Palme d’Or competition. That essentially rules out Netflix movies, which are released either day-and-date — on Netflix and in some theatres — or simply go straight to Netflix. In France, it’s a law that films can’t be released on home entertainment platforms until 36 months after their theatrical release.

That still left Netflix the option of playing out of competition at Cannes. But in an interview with Variety published Wednesday, Sarandos said he doesn’t want to send Netflix releases if they won’t be treated equally with other movies.

“We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,” said Sarandos. “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.”

Representatives for Cannes didn’t immediately comment Wednesday. In an earlier interview, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux said: “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.”

Last year, two Netflix films — Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” — premiered in competition at Cannes, prompting outrage from French theatre owners and unions.

Last year’s festival became a kind of referendum on Netflix’s role in cinema. Advocates for the streaming service point to the creative freedom Netflix offers to filmmakers and its financial backing of a diverse and ambitious slate of films. Critics say a platform destructive to theatrical moviegoing shouldn’t be celebrated at the world’s foremost celebration of cinema.

For Cannes, losing Netflix — and its growing roster of big-name filmmakers and stars — is a blow, depriving the French Rivera festival of some of the high-wattage glamour it seeks for its red carpet. Hollywood studios have largely stopped making the kinds of movies presented in Cannes, though this year’s festival will include the out-of-competition premiere of Disney’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Among the Netflix films believed to be in consideration for this year’s Cannes, which begins May 8, are: Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” Paul Greengrass’ “Norway,” Jeremy Saulnier’s “Hold the Dark” and Orson Welles’ final unfinished film “The Other Side of the Wind.”

For Netflix, skipping Cannes means those or other releases won’t get the worldwide promotion afforded by the festival, nor the much-sought honour of being a Cannes selection. Lacking theatrical distribution or massive marketing expenditures, Netflix has depended heavily on film festivals as launch pads for its films.

Sarandos said it’s time for Cannes to “modernize.”

“It is not a coincidence that Thierry also banned selfies this year,” Sarandos says, referring to Cannes’ new prohibition of selfie-taking on the red carpet. “I don’t know what other advances in media Thierry would like to address.”

A spokeswoman for Netflix said the company had no further comment.

Just Posted

Cannabis facility proposed for Clearwater County

Cannabis production facility proposed south of Caroline would produce 30,000 kg of cannabis a year

Two Central Alberta country singers are finalists in career-launching contest

They will attend music industry ‘boot camp’ this summer

Transit changes to aid Burman University students

An additional evening trip and student bus passes to be in place by fall

WATCH: Province, Maskwacis Cree Nations sign educational agreement

Funding and support will help the First Nations develop a Cree-based curriculum

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates World Refugee Day

The Central Alberta Refugee Effort hosted multiple events around Red Deer Wednesday

New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

LAS VEGAS — Taylor Hall has won the Hart Trophy as the… Continue reading

Red Deer high school student psyched for SHAD

Lindsay Thurber’s Kaden Nivens will head to Newfoundland for the annual program in July

Red Deer College team tackles lack of Indigneous inclusion in research projects

A local college research team has completed a lengthy project examining the… Continue reading

Officials make case against parents accused of child abuse

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Prosecutors made their case Wednesday against a Southern California… Continue reading

Manitoba educational assistant sentenced to 3 1/5 years for sex with student

WINNIPEG — A former educational assistant in Winnipeg has been sentenced to… Continue reading

Conservatives can ‘win anywhere,’ Scheer says in welcoming Richard Martel

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer welcomed the newest member of his… Continue reading

Fans grieve as detectives search for XXXTentacion’s killers

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — For hours, the fans came in a steady… Continue reading

Canadian steel not a national security threat on its own: US commerce secretary

OTTAWA — The U.S. commerce secretary says Canada is not a national… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month