A recent controversy at the Cannes Film Festival cuts to the heart of a larger conflict in the entertainment industry: what role should streaming services play? Two Netflix films are screening in competition at Cannes this year (“Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories”), but the festival has decided to put a stop to it: starting in 2018, no streaming films will be allowed to compete for the Palme d’Or unless they also commit to opening in French theaters. We asked our readers to weigh in, and as of this writing they’re split right down the middle (you can keep voting here).
As of this writing, 50% of respondents say that streaming-only films should be allowed in, while 50% say that the festival should only consider theatrical releases (see those results below). So even our readers can’t agree on where the increasingly blurry line between film and online content should be drawn.
There used to be a sharp dividing line between the worlds of entertainment media. Film was film, and TV was TV, but the internet has thrown those distinctions into disarray, and much of that has been for the better. Subscribers to online content providers like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have instant access to a wealth of content like we’ve never seen before, so on that end it hardly matters how you classify them. It has been great for actors, writers and directors, who have more opportunities and a wider audience than they might have ever reached before. But it has confused a number of other groups that rely on clearer categorization, including Cannes and awards organizations.
Netflix and Amazon have been able to exist in both worlds. Netflix films like “Beasts of No Nation” compete for film awards, while its series like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” contend as TV shows. Amazon too has been both a film (“Manchester by the Sea”) and TV (“Transparent”) contender, though “Manchester” had a more traditional theatrical release before it was made available to Amazon Prime subscribers.
So whose side are you on in the Cannes debate? Should streaming movies stay out of Cannes, or are they as worthy of consideration as any other distribution model? Discuss this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums, and keep up with the latest Gold Derby entertainment news.