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Netflix refuses to show films at Cannes

Streaming giants' entries barred from competition due to rules on cinema release - and included Orson Welles' final film

Netflix has pulled all its films from the Cannes Film Festival competition in a row over cinema screenings.

Festival organisers now say that all films presented in competition must be put on general release in cinemas in France, but the global online streaming operator has refused to abide by the new rule, which means they could not be considered for the prestigious Palme d'Or.

Netflix head of content Ted Sarandos said that it was "pointless" to show five films at the 71st Film Festival if they cannot compete.

He said: "This rule is contrary to the spirit of film festivals around the world, whose role is to help films be discovered and distributed. Netflix wants its films to be available online on the same day as their theatrical release.

"But [we are] up against French regulations, which prohibits a film on release in cinemas is online at the same time."

The films that have been withdrawn are, Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, Paul Greengrass's Norway, Jeremy Saulnier's Hold the Dark, the world premiere of Orson Welles' long-awaited final - mockumentary-style - film The Other Side of the Wind, and Morgan Neville's documentary They'll Love Me When I'm Dead.

The daughter of director Welles has urged Netflix to reconsider its decision. In an email to Mr Sarandos, part of which has been published by Variety magazine, she wrote: “I was very upset and troubled to read ... about the conflict with the Cannes Film Festival.
“I saw how the big production companies destroyed his life, his work ... I would so hate to see Netflix be yet another one of these companies.”

Meanwhile, The Other Side of the Wind producer Filip Jan Rymsza said the decision to remove Welles’ final film had caused “heartbreak," adding that he had "fought long and hard" to persuade Netflix to change its position.

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