Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, has decided the streaming platform won't be a part of the Cannes Film Festival this year.
In an interview with Variety
, the executive said the decision came from a new rule, which says any film without theatrical distribution is banned from competing in the festival.
"Well, it was not our decision to make. Thierry announced the change in their qualification rules [that] requires a film to have distribution in France to get in, which is completely contrary to the spirit of any film festival in the world," he said to Variety, referring to Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director of Cannes.
"Film festivals are to help films get discovered so they can get distribution. Under those rules, we could not release our films day-and-date to the world like we’ve released nearly 100 films over the last couples of years. And if we did that, we’d have to hold back that film from French subscribers for three years under French law. Therefore, our films they are not qualified for the Cannes Film Festival competition," he added.
The executive was referring to a law which says movies can't appear in home platforms for 36 months after their theatrical release.
Netflix's films, which premiere directly on its platform, could still be screened out of competition, but the executive said he's firmly against it.
"We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker," Sarandos said to Variety. "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."
The streaming platform did participate in the festival last year, with two films showed as part of the competition, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, which prompted theater owners and unions to protest against it.
Sarandos will not be attending Cannes in May, but some of his executives will be there. “It is not a coincidence that Thierry also banned selfies this year," Sarandos said of another new rule that doesn't allow guests to snap pictures on the red carpet. "I don’t know what other advances in media Thierry would like to address."