Netflix Original films have been cropping up more and more in the film scene at different film festivals, taking home several honors. However, the head of the Cannes Film Festival, Theirry Fremaux, has officially barred streaming media companies from competing for a Palme d’Or. This comes from the condemnation that several French filmmakers and unions issued after Netflix Original films Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories were allowed to compete in the Cannes Film Festival.
While Fremaux explained his reasoning for allowing the two films in (it was to convince Netflix to release the two films in cinemas,) but ultimately conceded that he overplayed his hand. Netflix tried and failed to get temporary permits to screen the films for less than a week before their online releases, due to France’s strict chronology laws. The Cannes Film Festival, as a result, changed their rules to require a theatrical release in France.
“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. We have to take into account the existence of these powerful new players: Amazon, Netflix and maybe soon Apple. We’ll defend the image of a risk-prone festival, questioning the cinema, and we must be at the table every year.”
With Netflix and Amazon enabling directors to make big budget films, Fremaux believes that they are not creating what could be considered television or film, but “hybrids” that don’t fully subscribe to either.
The history of cinema and the history of the internet are two different things.
This comes after Stephen Spielberg had some spicy things to say about Netflix films and the Oscars while promoting his upcoming film, Ready Player One:
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. But in fact, once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe the films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.
In addition to the barring of streaming companies’ original content from being considered for any awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the festival also announced a ban on taking selfies on the red carpet, as well as press screenings ahead of time for competition films.