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Netflix films are now ineligible to compete at Cannes

Contributed by
Mar 26, 2018

It’s official. Netflix films are no longer allowed to compete for the coveted Palm D’or at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Following the significant backlash Cannes Film Festival organizers received for allowing Bong Joon-ho’s Okja — which Netflix produced and distributed — into the competition last year, festival director Thierry Fremaux said in an interview with Le Film Francais that films produced and distributed by Netflix and other forms of streaming media aren’t eligible to compete in the festival, per The Hollywood Reporter

“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,” Fremaux said in the interview on Friday. Fremaux admitted that the decision to allow films produced and presented by streaming services for television was made to shake things up at the festival. But now he admits that the festival and platforms like Netflix are obviously not on the same proverbial page.

“Last year, when we selected these two films [Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)], I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas,” said Fremaux. “I was presumptuous, they refused.”

Festival representatives referred SYFY WIRE to its bylaws, which state that the films “must be released theatrically in France” and “have not been exhibited on the internet” in order to be officially selected for competition. 

This move not only follows French filmmakers and unions condemning the decision to allow Okja to compete, it also immediately follows director Steven Spielberg telling Britain’s ITV News that movies explicitly created for streaming TV “deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar.” 

Well, there you have it, folks. Netflix will be welcome to present its intended 80 new releases at Cannes this year (depending on how many they finish making by the time the festival begins). It’s just that none of them will be eligible for the highest prize awarded at the festival. 

Well, at least festival attendees can still take selfies on the red carpet. Wait, what? Oh, come on!

The 2018 Cannes Film Festival will begin on May 8.