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Will Smith defends Netflix as Cannes Film Festival 2017 jury clash


French cinemas were right to object to Netflix' appearance at Cannes, the film festival's director said on Tuesday (May 16), ahead of the competition that this year has been marked by a fight between the theatres and the American streaming giant. With Netflix they get the benefit to watch what they never would have seen, it brings great connectivity to them to the world.

It's the first time any Netflix movies have been considered for the prestigious Palme d'Or award - and it will be the last.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17 through May 28.

But Smith was among those not clapping and he disagreed with the Spanish director, revealing his kids are huge Netflix fans. Festival organisers tried to negotiate a compromise, with a "limited release" of the movies in France mooted.

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In what has been considered a watershed moment for the streaming service, it has two films competing for the Palme d'Or at the 70th edition of the festival.

The US platform has refused to screen the two movies in French cinemas due to strict rules that mean films can not be streamed from subscription services in France until three years after their traditional box office release.

Talking about his plans of going this year, Nawaz said, "I leave for Cannes on May 18, and the promo of the film will be screened around May 20". The jury for "Un Certain Regard", which will be headed by Uma Thurman, includes Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, French actor Reda Kateb, Belgian director Joachim Lafosse and the artistic director of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Karel Och.

The $50 million project starring Tilda Swinton and directed by Bong Joon-Ho will hit theaters in South Korea, the United States and Britain, but will only be available on Netflix elsewhere in the world.

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"The establishment closing ranks against us", Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote on Facebook. Films are prohibited from streaming or appearing on subscription video on demand for three years after playing in theaters. This year's festival saw its first big cinephile debate Wednesday, when jury president Pedro Almodovar and festival newcomer Will Smith offered sharply opposing views on the festival's Netflix controversy during the jury press conference. While Cannes is one of the most recognizable names in film, numerous movies that compete (and win) at the festival are foreign, and thus do not generate the same viewership domestically as those that originate in the United States. "They go to the movies to be humbled in front of certain images".

"So they have to find a French exhibitor willing to do a day-and-date vanity release or bow out of future Competition involvement?" asked Charlie Lyne, the director of the documentaries Being Clueless and Fear Itself.

A festival spokeswoman said the measures were to "guarantee the festival-goers' optimal security" while "taking care not to disrupt" the event.

The Cannes Film Festival runs through May 28, when the Palme d'Or victor and other awards will be announced.

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