Ahead of the Cannes Film Festival’s official selection announcement on April 13, festival director Thierry Fremaux has rolled out a few shake-ups. The 71st edition of the festival, which will be held from May 8-19, will debar selfies on the red carpet and discontinue the practice of morning screenings for the media. Films produced by and streamed on platforms such as Netflix will not be featured in the competition section, reported Variety.
“This rule was established last year,” Fremaux told Variety in an interview about the decision to keep Netflix out of the competition. “It’s now clear: Any film which is selected to compete will have to be released in theaters.” The screening of Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories in the competition created a heated debate last year, with distributors protesting that the decision affected their business.
“Last year, I thought I could convince Netflix but they refused (to release films in theaters),” Fremaux told Variety. “That’s their economic model, and I respect it. But we are all about cinema and we wish to have films that play in competition get released in theaters. That’s the model of film lovers and Netflix must respect it as well.”
The other big shocker is the decision to drop the practice of screening films in the morning for the press ahead of their premieres in the evening. “We had one basic conviction: We would put the gala evenings and red carpet back at the heart of the festival,” Fremaux continued in the interview. “This is how world premieres become again… world premieres.”
Under the new schedule, journalists will be able to see films at the same time as the guests. “The suspense will be total!” Fremaux told Le Film Francais.
As far as the ban on red carpet selfies is concerned, the festival director did not mince words. “Selfies on the red carpet, in a continuous and touristy way, are ridiculous,” Fremaux told Variety. “It tarnishes the quality and tempo of the ascending of the steps... We go to Cannes to see movies, not to take selfies.”