The topic of Alfonso Cuaron's incredible film "Roma" came at the forefront of the conversation:
"I saw Roma several times, especially during its gala screenings at Venice. I also met Cate Blanchett there and asked her why she was in attendance and she replied because she finally wanted to discover the 22nd film of the Cannes competition (laughs). I also told my friend Alberto Barbera (artistic director of the Venice Film Festival), "Alberto, we lent you the film, take care of it. More seriously, there is no need for revenge or any message being sent towards Venice. We're going through very exciting times, a new stage in cinematic history. The French cinematic operators should rightfully feel weakened by this new world that Netflix has created, and as the head of Cannes, not being able to show these Netflix films in competition is nothing short of penalizing for us."
As per French Cultural Minister laws, if Netflix were to send its movies to Cannes competition it wouldn't be able to stream then until 2021. Fremaux does mention that he's trying to correct the wrongs that were done this year, where films like "Roma" and Orson Welles' "The Other Side of the Wind" couldn't go to Cannes due to French bylaws in the ministry of culture prohibiting it from happening:
"For the Cannes Film Festival, French exhibitors have a major requirement: that Netflix films not be selected for competition. For them, it would be catastrophic if they were to do so. Once again, I understand that, but for 2019, I really do not know what we are going to do with this rule."
In the interview, Fremaux does confirm that Netflix executives Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber both came to the Lumiere Festival recently to discuss Netflix' future with Cannes. It seems that, because of the “Roma” fiasco, Netflix and Richard Patry, president of the National Federation of French Cinemas, are currently in discussions to find a solution to the problem and have Netflix bring their films to Cannes next year.
"They dream of returning to Cannes in competition" said Fremaux, "When you distribute a film like Roma, it should be in competition."
As mentioned before, I've had the sneaking suspicion that Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" could bind both parties together to an agreement, but when asked about that Fremaux tried to hold back and even said he had no idea if the film's post-production will be completed in time for next May's Cannes fest,"We don't even know if "The Irishman" will be finished for Cannes 2019, Scorsese is still in full-on editing mode. And even if it's finished in time, Scorsese has already had a Palme d'Or, he is less obsessed with returning to competition."