The world of French distribution reacts (badly) to the holding of the Netflix festival

It is scheduled for December in a dozen cinemas.

Netflix is ​​organizing a festival for the end of the year in a dozen movie theaters in France, and this idea does not thrill the distributors, who have written an open letter to protest against this project. French Film relayed their remarks, while specifying some details of Netflix’s strategy, the team of the French subsidiary of the American branch having been contacted to find out more.

The idea is to broadcast part of their productions for a few exceptional (and paid) screenings throughout France, between December 7 and 14. About ten exhibitors have already agreed to schedule screenings (the article cites the Lumière Terreaux, Bellecour and Fourmi cinemas in Lyon, the Méliès cinemas in Saint-Etienne, as well as the Utopia and MK2 networks), and the list of films projected is for the moment the following: The Power of The Dog by Jane Campion, The Hand of God by Paolo Sorrentino, Pieces of a Woman by Kornél Mundruczó, Clair-Obscur (Passing) by Rebecca Hall, The Lost Daughter by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Malcolm & Marie by Sam Levinson, The Guilty by Antoine Fuqua, The Harder They Fall by Jeymes Samuel and Don’t Look Up: Cosmic Denial by Adam McKay. It should be fleshed out before the start date of the festival.

These films having been produced for streaming, Netflix will have to obtain temporary visas for each of them from the CNC in order to be able to broadcast them exceptionally on the big screen. The firm assures that it will be “above all a retrospective, relatively modest event” and thought like “a celebration of films and filmmakers on the big screen”. They will mainly offer works already available on Netflix.

The announcement of this Netflix festival aroused the anger of independent distributors, who wrote a common message, relayed by the unions DIRE and SDI, to denounce his organization, perceived as “a large-scale marketing campaign, a giant promotional trailer to entice moviegoers to subscribe to a paid service”. They remind us that the productions that must be screened there “will never be released in theaters”, because destined “to be seen by television viewers, in front of their television screens”. They add to have been “shocked” by this announcement “after the announced launch of Jane Campion’s new film, exclusively on Netflix, on Wednesday, December 1, a symbolic day for film releases in the cinema, Netflix has therefore succeeded in transforming cinemas into an antechamber to its services”.

The press release protests in passing on the possibility of organizing this festival while independent films are struggling to find their audience in theaters, especially after their closure for several months because of the Covid-19 epidemic: “At a time when many films, victims of the 7 and a half months of cinema closures, are struggling to find an exhibition that meets their potential, we denounce the holding of such a festival. (…) If similar works to “cinema films” are being deployed on the platforms, if cinephiles find what they are looking for, what will be the future of cinemas and of all those who make and promote it? (…) The collective discovery of ‘a cinematographic work on the big screen is a unique and irreplaceable experience. We must defend it collectively and jointly. ” The distributors’ unions are also calling on professionals, in particular operators: “Do you realize that a short-term attraction of your spectators is a medium-term suicide for our respective professions? Faced with such choices, how can you continue to defend, at your side, the principle of an exclusivity of several? months for your cinemas in a new Media Chronology that will integrate the platforms into our ecosystem while respecting the order of the broadcast windows? “ They also ask producers and filmmakers to react collectively: “The future of our professions is being played out today. Tomorrow will be too late.”

Here is the full message, relayed on social networks by Le Pacte:

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