It's Official: Netflix films will not be at Cannes this year

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Ted Sarandos has made it official, Netflix won’t be going to Cannes this year.

Variety nabbed the exclusive interview, released today. In it the Netflix head honcho basically told  Variety that Cannes offered Netflix non-competition slots for their films, but that the streaming giant found it unfair and decided to just not send their films there:

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

Netflix had two films in competition last year: Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.” They were both booed at press screenings because of the Netflix brand appearing on-screen. French theaters owners and unions protested both of these films to Thierry Fremaux, head of Cannes which then consequentially had him state earlier this year that Netflix would have to adhere to French laws if they wanted their films in competition.

As I have mentioned before, there is a law in France that states a movie cannot be released for stream until 36 months after its theatrical release.That is an unfair and ungainly rule that will likely be changed very soon as it does not make any sense or adhere to the changing cinematic platform, which is, quite frankly, now being monopolized by Netflix.
What's an even bigger slap in the face for me is the fact that Netflix had originally submitted Alfonso Cuaron‘s RomaOrson Welles‘ The Other Side of the WindMorgan Neville‘s They’ll Love Me When I’m DeadPaul Greengrass‘s Norway and Jeremy Saulnier’s Hold the Dark. Yikes. Those could have been the five most anticipated of the entire fest.
“It was not our decision to make,” Sarandos explained. “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. 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.”
 “I do have faith that Thierry shares my love for cinema and would be a champion of changing that when he realizes how punitive this rule is to filmmakers and film lovers. [So] we hope that they do change the rules. We hope that they modernize. But we will continue to support all films and all filmmakers. We encourage Cannes to rejoin the world cinema community and welcome them back. Thierry had said in his comments when he announced his change that the history of the internet and the history of Cannes are two different things. Of course they are two different things. But we are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that’s fine.”