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Netflix’s Okja Had Some Problems Premiering At The Cannes Festival

Okja and Mija

In just the past few years, Netflix has totally changed the landscape for television production. Various streaming services have begun producing exciting shows, resulting in a diverse and varied business that results in a ton of quality content over various outlets. And now the streaming giant has turned its head to the world of film, acquiring the rights to exciting new projects and releasing them straight to your TV, computer, or smart device. Perhaps the most hotly anticipated of Netflix's upcoming releases is the South Korean-American sci-fi adventure Okja, which recently premiered at the 2017 Cannes Festival. Unfortunately, the premiere didn't quite go as planned.

The issues began with Okja first started rolling. When the Netflix logo popped up, it was met with boos and vocal sounds of dismay. Some of the Cannes participants are staunchly opposed to Netflix's inclusion in the Festival, seeing as how their films won't actually be in theaters. The booing returned again when Netflix was listed in the opening credits, and grew louder when some technical difficulties caused both audio and visual issues.

Yikes. The Wrap paints a pretty awkward picture for Okja's debut, which comes a month before its wide release. Ultimately, the film had to be stopped, restarting when the technical difficulties were conquered. Upon the second viewing, the Netflix logo was once again booed, although Okja was ultimately met with applause and more appropriate audience behavior by the film's end.

Wild, right? Okja actually has a fair amount of hype and fan excitement surrounding it, as its wholly original concept, use of CGI, and all-star cast entices moviegoers. Okja revolves around the titular giant pig-like creature, as well as its young friend Mija. When a shady corporation run by Tilda Swinton's Lucy Mirando attempts to capture and use Okja's DNA to cultivate more creatures for livestock, an adventure ensues.

Okja has a seriously stacked cast. Joining South Korean child actress Ahn Seo-hyun and Tilda Swinton are winners like Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, The Walking Dead alum Steven Yeun, and Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul's Giancarlo Esposito. Honestly, the mix of small and silver screen royalty is enough to make me thoroughly fascinated to see what type of journey Okja will take us on.

The only downside to Okja's Netflix release is how the CGI that brought the creature to life won't be able to be truly appreciated. These types of rendering are usually created with the big screen in mind, and in this case we'll be watching Okja's likeness through our computers and iPhones. This shift in thinking is surely the reason that the film's reception at the Cannes Festival has been so icy.

Okja is just one of many Netflix movies that will be released in the next few months. And with its TV schedule constantly expanding, there's no telling where the streaming service will head next.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.