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Popular US-based streaming service Netflix has withdrawn its films from this year’s Cannes [kan] Film Festival, a yearly event in France that shows international films of various genres.
In 2017, two Netflix-produced films made the cut for the reputable film festival. However, this sparked protests among French theater owners who argued that the films should not be included because they have not been screened in France. As a result, the event organizers set a new policy that prohibits a film that was not shown in French theaters from participating in the festival starting this year.
Although Netflix still had the option of participating in the festival without competing, its chief content officer Ted Sarandos was against the idea. He asserted that the company wanted to have a level playing field with other filmmakers. He added that he did not want Netflix’s films and filmmakers to become the object of insults at the festival.
Despite that, Netflix respects the organizers’ decision. Sarandos also stated that they remain hopeful that the organizers will eventually have a change of heart.
A number of Netflix filmmakers have also shared their thoughts on the issue. Movie producer Filip Jan Rymsza [rim-zhuh] got disappointed upon knowing about Netflix’s withdrawal. He felt that it resulted in a lose-lose situation for everyone—including the festival, Netflix, movie fans, and filmmakers. American film director Jeremy Saulnier [SAWL-nee-eh] also expressed his frustration over the issue, saying that it only contributes to endless arguments on what defines a movie.