FNCF Demanding Netflix Release its Cannes Submissions In Theaters

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By: Amelia Fabiano

Netflix is facing pressure from France’s theatrical exhibitors guild, the FNCF, to release its two Cannes movies in theaters.

The 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will officially include Bong Joon-Ho’s “Okja” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories,” both Netflix original films.

“While France’s exhibitors are neither questioning the independence of the programming of the world’s biggest film festival, nor the emerging of new international players such as Amazon which are contributing to the development and financing of films, we are contesting the festival’s choice (to select these movies acquired or produced by Netflix) which was made without consulting us,” the FNCF said.

Netflix shut down its Paris office last summer, so the FNCF feels as though the streaming giant is taking advantage of the French film festival unfairly. “Netflix has been avoiding French regulation and fiscal obligations,” the guild said. “These rules allow for the financing of our strong film industry and ecosystem which in turns allows for many French and foreign movies selected at Cannes to get made.”

Netflix has been paying French sales taxes based on point of consumption, as opposed to point of distribution. The company has not, however, been paying French corporate taxes. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the following in statement Thursday about the selection of the films in the festival: “The Cannes Film Festival’s commitment to giving an exceptional platform to distinct stories from the world’s most acclaimed auteurs is second to none. We are thrilled at the opportunity to premiere two of our highly anticipated films from directors Noah Baumbach and Bong Joon-ho in this prestigious forum.”

The Cannes Film Festival is set to run May 17-28. Both films will be released on Netflix’s streaming service later this year.