Ted Sarandos and Netflix confirm even films screening out of competition will not play the Festival de Cannes.
The 2018 Cannes Film Festival kicks off next month, but Netflix, who had two films screen In Competition last year, will no longer have a presence. CCO Ted Sarandos confirmed to Variety that the streaming company would pull out of the festival after the decision, by the fest, to implement a new rule banning films without a theatrical release planned in France from competing.
Netflix was still welcome to screen films out of competition.
According to the Variety article, Sarandos stated, "We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker. There's 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."
Sarandos also noted he felt the new rule was implicitly in reference to Netflix.
He also shared his thoughts on where the festival could be heading with rules such as this new one. "Film festivals are to help films get discovered so they can get distribution. Under those rules, we could not release our films day-to-date to the world like we've released nearly 100 films over the last couple 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."
Last year, Netflix originals Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories competed. 2017 jury president, director Pedro Almodovar, made reference to his feelings regarding films not being released in theaters, sparking a bit of controversy even then. While both films received positive reviews, screenings were met with boos when the Netflix logo appeared before each film.
Films that were expected to screen, but will no longer show at this year's fest, include projects by some heavy hitters, including Alfonso Cuaron's follow up to Gravity, Roma. Jeremy Saulnier's Hold the Dark, Paul Greengrass' Norway, and the long-lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the World are also among the films that will no longer screen.