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Movies are changing at a rapid pace, especially as theaters are trying new things and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have entered the fray. Over the last couple of years the streaming services have been working toward critical acclaim, too, and the Amazon-produced Manchester By The Sea even earned some Academy Awards wins this winter. Now, Netflix is working on a different first, as we recently learned the subscription streaming service has landed two films at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Only, some people in France are pretty riled up about the development. Here's why.
Per reports, The Federation of French Cinemas is annoyed about the inclusion of Netflix's Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories at Cannes. Per the rules of the Cannes Film Festival, movies that are included must have a theatrical release before they hit a streaming service. This is something Amazon has been happy to comply with, as that streaming service has worked with theaters before putting movies up on their own service. Netflix, however, has railed against theatrical releases, preferring to only post movies to Netflix rather than give them a theatrical release.
According to what The Federation of French Cinemas told THR, Netflix might not really be abiding by the rules of the festival. First and foremost, as noted earlier, Netflix movies don't normally get a theatrical release, and the organization feels that this means Netflix has been skipping out on financial obligations to theaters and to France as a whole. Secondly, in France, movies are only allowed to be streamed 36 months after a theatrical release, which seems like a really big time window, but is apparently a thing.
The FNCF's strongly worded argument says this, among other things:
For several years, Netflix has bypassed French regulations and tax rules. These rules form the basis of the financing structure of an exemplary cinema industry in our country, which is what allows most French and foreign films of the Official Selection to be made. They closed their office in France. Their desire to negotiate is like the desire of Uber to pay its drivers and of Google to pay its taxes.
In short, people involved with the organization, the theaters in France and the collection of taxes are not particularly happy with Netflix and have even been vocal on social media about what is happening. It's unlikely that the complaints will do anything to change the inclusion of Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories at Cannes, but it should be interesting to see what--if any--changes Netflix makes regarding its releases. In the meantime, take a look at what the streaming service has coming up.