Cannes: French Cinema Producers Union Supports Netflix's Festival Inclusion

'Okja' Netflix - Still - H 2016

'Okja' and 'The Meyerowitz Stories' are in the official selection as Netflix explores limited day-and-date releases in France.

The union representing French film producers has come out in support of Netflix’s acceptance into the Cannes Film Festival after the National Federation of Cinemas (FNCF) protested and demanded big-screen releases of the streaming services' films.

Netflix produced Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and bought Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories just three days before the film festival’s lineup announcement, when it was already widely tipped to be in the selection.

In a compromise move seeking to pacify the FNCF, Netflix announced Wednesday that it will seek a very limited day-and-date release for the films in France, applying for temporary permits to show them. Under that plan, the films can be in theaters for no more than 10 days or six screenings. The “temporary” status is careful not to trigger chronology rules.

Under French law, SVOD services like Netflix must wait 36 months after a film's theatrical release to stream a film.

In a statement, the union said it “stresses it’s not appropriate to judge the selection of foreign films funded abroad according to French rules, and that it does not intend to associate itself with affecting the artistic freedom of the premier film festival in the world.”

Stephane Marsil, whose Hugo Productions was behind last year’s Charlize Theron-starrer Dark Places, is head of the union, while Mandarin Productions Eric Altameyer, Europacorp’s Luc Besson, La Petite Reine’s Thomas Langmann and Les Films du Losange’s Margaret Menegoz all hold vice president positions.

The FNCF “is not in a position to take offense” as it takes advantage of the windowing timeframe while failing to support small films. Many are pulled from theaters after just a week of programming, hurting producers and filmmakers, said the union.

The UPC said it is calling on the FNCF to support its efforts to modernize the media chronology to help producers lock down needed presales on newer platforms.