Netflix is pulling its films from the Cannes Film Festival, further intensifying an ongoing dispute between Netflix and the world's most prestigious film festival. Along with selfies, Cannes earlier banned any films without theatrical distribution in France from its Palme d'Or competition, which essentially rules out Netflix movies. In France, it's a law that films can't be released on home entertainment platforms until 36 months after their theatrical release. "We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. "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." Representatives for Cannes didn't immediately comment Wednesday, the AP reports.
Last year, two Netflix films—Bong Joon-ho's Okja and Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories—premiered in competition at Cannes, prompting outrage from French theater owners and unions. Last year's festival became a kind of referendum on Netflix's role in cinema. Advocates for the streaming service point to the creative freedom Netflix offers to filmmakers and its financial backing of a diverse and ambitious slate of films. Critics say a platform destructive to theatrical moviegoing shouldn't be celebrated at the world's foremost celebration of cinema. For Cannes, losing Netflix—and its growing roster of big-name filmmakers and stars—is a blow, depriving the French Rivera festival of some of the high-wattage glamour it seeks for its red carpet. Sarandos said it's time for Cannes to "modernize."