Netflix films have been banned from competing at Cannes Film Festival

Netflix films cannot win the coveted Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A report on the website claims that although films from streaming sites including Netflix can still be screened at the festival, they must have a theatrical release in France to be eligible to win the Palme d’Or.

Last year, two Netflix films, Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories were allowed to compete despite not being shown in French cinemas, but the decision was met with outrage from French filmmakers and unions.

In both instances, Netflix attempted to screen the films for less than a week in France, coinciding with the online release dates, but failed because of the country’s strict laws on chronology, The Hollywood Reporter claims. Because no agreement was reached by Netflix and the film festival, the change in the rules has been brought in for this year’s event.

“Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas, said head of Cannes Film Festival Theirry Fremaux. “I was presumptuous, they refused.”

Fremaux said that including Okja and The Meyerowitz at last year’s event was a risk he was prepared to take to avoid the festival becoming stagnant, and he didn’t want to lose the films to another festival.

However, he believes traditional cinema will prevail in the long run, labelling Netflix and Amazon’s high-budget offerings as “hybrids” of TV or film. “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.”

Last Friday, Fremaux also announced that the Cannes Film Festival will be banning selfie sticks from the red carpet from this year’s event onwards.

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