Thierry Fremaux Says Netflix Is "Welcome In Cannes" In Response To Streaming Service's Latest Move

We knew it was going to happen. After Netflix preemptively announced that their films would not be making appearances at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, everyone was waiting for the official response from festival director Thierry Fremaux. And now we have it.

“Films must be open to the possibility of being distributed in cinemas”, he explained, in a report from Deadline. Fremaux continues to discuss how it’s a shame that the Orson Welles film, in particular, won’t have its premiere at the festival.

“It’s too bad. Welles was president of the jury and of course had the Palme d’Or. His place was here. I saw the film, we all had a desire to see this film. It’s not an accident that Netflix is the rights holder of the film, though. They wanted to do it. They know and love cinema, but we don’t have the same position. The world is like that today. Last year when we had them on the red carpet we were very criticized. This year they won’t be on the red carpet and we’ll be criticized,” said Fremaux.

Cannes executive Pierre Lescure also discussed the Welles film in saying, “We regret it because it was a lovely gesture of cinema undertaken by Netflix and now they block it. It would have been a nice gesture but they didn’t want to do it. The debate is still open.”

The sticking point between Netflix and Cannes isn’t just about showing films in French theaters. It’s the rule that films that are given a theatrical run in France have to wait 36 months before they can be shown on a streaming service. That means that if Netflix wants to showcase their films at the Cannes Film Festival, complete with a token French theatrical run, would then have to wait three years to debut the films on their streaming service in that country. And for Netflix, that’s just not worth it.

Deadline is also reporting that behind-the-scenes, Fremaux and Cannes had hoped that Netflix would show two films at this year’s prestigious event. The first being an out-of-competition slot for the aforementioned Orson Welles film, “The Other Side of the Wind.” Then the second spot would be in-competition, but for an unnamed film, which many believe would have been Alfonso Cuaron’sRoma” or Jeremy Saulnier’sHold the Dark.”

“Netflix is welcome in Cannes. We have an ongoing debate. We want to tell Ted [Sarandos] and Reed [Hastings] and Scott [Stuber] to come, let’s keep talking,” concluded Fremaux.