The Cannes Film Festival founded in 1946 which is recognized is one of the world’s most prestigious film gathering in the world today. The Cannes Film Festival has the long history; however, this year’s festival encountered a perfect storm of challenges. The Festival delivered a new rule that any films without theatrical distribution in France were restricted to join the competition. Films cannot perform on streaming platforms for three years after screening in cinemas. That rules directly affected Netflix’s process that films in theaters and online for audience are appeared on the same day. Netflix have planned to bring 5 movies to Cannes, however Netflix decides to withdraw its appearance from this year’s festival because of the new rule.
I never had the chance to experience the Cannes Film Festival, but I have been told that I watch Netflix every single day and support any independent film in Netflix. With the development of technology, it creates the reduction of the film-going experience when the audience choose to watch movie on smaller devices such as computer, phones in their homes. The truth is, film industry must follow the process of evolution. The decision of Netflix rises the conflict between streaming companies and the traditional cinema industry how films will be watched in the future.
The Cannes Film Festival believe in the tradition value which films must be distributed in theaters for a group of people to watch them. Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos mentioned that “the festival has chosen to celebrate distribution rather than the art of cinema…. We are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that is fine.” In the case of Netflix, when they attend Cannes, they do not seek the distribution to compare with most independent film. They have their own streaming platforms with millions of subscribers. They go to international film festival to find the fame and raise the reputation in the film industry. Furthermore, Netflix spend more resource in making movie by publishing more than 100 film on their channel. The influence of the streaming giant increases to interrupt the traditional process of theatrical distribution and threat the cinema owners.
In my opinion, I cannot agree with the decision of Cannes when they choose to keep good movie out rather than let more film in. Furthermore, audience still have a choice to choose between big screen and home-viewing experience. While audiences who do not live near a cinema, movie fans can access to watch an art movie through Netflix channel. Nevertheless, both parties also lost in this competition. When Netflix hardly attracts A-list director when their products cannot ensure to take place in the top film festival. In contrast, Cannes can lose their position for premiere films to compare with more flexible film festival such as Venice, Berlin, Busan when they support against modernization. The idea about the future of film industry continue to blur, when audiences change the way to access the content they want.
Setoodeh, R 2018, ‘Netflix Pulls out of Cannes following rule change’, viewed 20 August 2018, https://variety.com/2018/film/news/netflix-cannes-rule-change-ted-sarandos-interview-exclusive-1202750473/
Festival de Cannes, Who we are, viewed 19 August 2018, https://www.festival-cannes.com/en/