The Battle between Cannes and Netflix Continues
War still rages on between relatively newcomer on the cinema scene, Netflix, and legendary Cannes Film Festival, which represents a more classic school of thought.
Last year, the renowned French film festival made headlines when Netflix decided to pull out three of their major new projects, including Roma. After miscommunication over whether Cannes would bend protocol for Netflix, it enforced its rule that entries much have a French theatrical run. France also has a nationwide law that films can not be streamed until 36 months after the release date.
Being the birthplace of cinema, France has a very proud culture- proud of its history and fiercely protective of its institutions. The spat between the prestigious festival and the Silicon Valley giant represents a turning point in film distribution that the industry has been facing for some time.
Theatrical power players such as Steven Spielberg weigh in, as reported in The Atlantic: "Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie. You certainly, if it's a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don't believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination."
Is it just that easy? Do films command enough respect to watch them in all their low-lit, big screen glory? Isn't that the way its creators intended?
Or should the new working class have access to great film, regardless of whether they can afford movie tickets and babysitters, or whether they even live in areas with a theater nearby? Not to mention the number one film festival in the world would be missing out on such tempting premieres as Martin Scorsese's The Irishman and Steven Soderbergh's Laundromat. The pressure on Cannes seems to be deepening, and becoming a symbol of tension rising between the old ways versus new.
Will the Oscars change its rules?
It's a question that even now, nearly a year later, still doesn't have a clear answer. Rekindling and complicating the debate was the buzz and success of Alfonso Cuarón's subdued and poetic Roma, winning best director, best foreign language film and best cinematography at the 2019 Oscars. In April of 2019, the Oscar board of governors will hold a regular board meeting to reevaluate new rules for award winners and nominations, so new decisions on the subject may just be reached.
One person that is on both sides of the fence, founder of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, who also worked to support screenings of Roma on 70mm in his theaters hopes a compromise can be worked out between the new creative forces of the likes of Netflix and Amazon, and the preservation of the ever holy "cinematic experience".
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