Why Are Netflix Movies Banned From Competing At The Cannes Film Festival?

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Netflix has been officially cast out of the Cannes Film Festival. Cannes will no longer consider movies from the streaming service.

You Can't Compete With Us

Netflix and other streaming services, like Amazon Studios, are still welcome to show movies if they wish, but these movies will not be considered in the running for the all-important Palme d'Or.

Film festival head Thierry Fremaux announced the new stipulation along with a festival-wide selfie ban on Friday.

"The Netflix people ... would like to be present with other films. But they understand that the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours," he explained.

Last year's festival saw Bong Joon-ho's Okja and Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories competing for the top prize at Cannes, much to widespread public derision.

French filmmakers and unions pledged to protest, only for the rules to change for the 2018 festival. Neither Okja or The Meyerowitz Stories ended up winning anything.

Fremaux reportedly allowed the two Netflix movies to compete last year to keep the festival from becoming stagnant. He wished to premiere films from two notable filmmakers rather than see them go to other festivals.

However, now that he knows Netflix won't give such movies a theatrical release, he realized his error.

"Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. ... They refused," he admitted.

Strict Regulations Protect Cinema

Netflix tried to temporarily show the films for less than a week in France, to coincide with the online releases of both. The company was unsuccessful due to France's strict chronology laws, and the two sides couldn't agree on a proper solution.

Cannes changed the rules and now theatrical release in France is a requirement to enter the competition.

 "Cinema [still] triumphs everywhere even in this golden age of series. The history of cinema and the history of the internet are two different things," Freemaux explained.

The issue is that, although Netflix along with other streaming platforms, proved to be powerful players when it comes to funding and distribution, there's a worry that the movies from major studios will be in the spotlight. This will make it harder for movies from smaller film studios to get attention.

The French cinema model is almost the exact antithesis of Netflix's business model. There are also strict laws in place to support local film production and movie theaters.

Still, the move will set Cannes back in relation to the changing attitudes and viewing habits.

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