Will Smith defends Netflix at Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival and Netflix square off over the inclusion of streaming releases

Cannes Film Festival bans Netflix

Smith - who is starring in the Netflix film "Bright" later this year - chimed in later to defend the streaming service, suggesting that younger filmgoers don't see much of a distinction between watching a film in a theater and watching one at home. Cannes last week responded to the furor by saying that from 2018 on, all films wishing to compete will have to commit to a French theatrical release.

Stay informed: Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. At the press conference, immediately the subject of Netflix vs. Cannes came up- Netflix is showing two movies that won't be in French cinema, only on their service. "Hence the Festival regrets that no agreement has been reached", the festival said.

Elsewhere at the festival, veteran British actress Vanessa Redgrave on Wednesday unveiled her first film as a director - "Sea Sorrow", a documentary about Europe's migrant crisis. Nowhere has Netflix's arrival been received more warily than at Cannes, a staunch guardian of cinema, and in France, the birthplace of the art form. "Historically, many films arrive at the Cannes festival without any distribution", he told a press conference.

Netflix, however, has refused to back down, with boss Reed Hastings claiming that "the establishment is closing ranks against us".

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.

Netflix Chief Of Operations executive Ted Sarandos expressed that he would love all of the Netflix films to be released on theaters and not just limited to the streaming platform. Although her last visit was a low point, when the 2014 film Grace of Monaco was savaged by critics at the premiere, she lights up talking about her Cannes highlights.

This year's festival begins with a gala screening of French drama Ismael's Ghosts, starring Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

In addition to Almodovar and Smith, this year's jury also includes Jessica Chastain, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, German director Maren Ade, South Korean director Park Chan-wook, Chinese star Fan Bingbing, French actress Agnes Jaoui, and French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared. It's primarily about the films, but over the past few decades, it's evolved into one of the biggest occasions for fashion, and celebrities have walked its red carpet in some iconic looks.

Optimism is high at this year's Cannes, which features a lineup widely considered to be well-stocked with heavyweight filmmakers, including Todd Haynes ("Wonderstruck"), Sofia Coppola ("The Beguiled"), Michael Haneke ("Happy End") and Lynne Ramsay ("You Were Never Really Here").

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