Will Smith defends Netflix at Cannes: It's 'nothing but an absolute benefit'

Cannes Film Festival bans Netflix

Both Almodovar and Smith weighed in on the issue that has dominated conversations so far at Cannes - the inclusion in the competition of Netflix films that will be streamed to subscribers and not shown in movie theaters in France. "The head of the festival, Thierry Fremaux, has always adored Jane", Kidman says of Campion, who is the only female director to ever win the festival's prestigious Palme d'Or prize for her 1993 film The Piano.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui seems to have established a special connect of sorts with the Cannes Film Festival. Because of this, next year all movies will have to be available in French theatres or they can't compete at the festival.

"Fantastic film that theatre chains want to block us from entering into Cannes film festival competition". Festival organisers tried to negotiate a compromise, with a "limited release" of the movies in France mooted.

The Spanish director, who has had five films in the competition since 1999 - most recently Julieta past year - was asked by a journalist if he would rather have his films seen in 190 countries (i.e., on a streaming service) or win a Palme d'Or. Cannes has fought back by saying Netflix, which is in the Palme competition for the first time this year, won't be allowed into the 2018 festival unless it changes its policy. 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.

Smith, who has the big-budget Netflix movie Bright on the way, spoke as the voice of the streaming generation. The festival relented and next year won't accept streaming-only films in the competition. And Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, accused cinemas of "strangling cinema". "You must feel small and humble in front of the image that's here".

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The outcry from French cinemas was such that there were rumours that the two Netflix movies would be excluded at the last minute. And now they get to find those artists and they look them up online and they make contact.

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is leading the jury charged with picking a victor among the 19 films vying for the coveted Palme d'Or top prize, on a panel that also includes Smith, "Interstellar" star Jessica Chastain, and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.

A festival spokeswoman said the measures were to "guarantee the festival-goers' optimal security" while "taking care not to disrupt" the event. "The only thing, as we are talking about movie theatres, is that at a certain moment in the day, several times a day, the lights go out and we watch a film - together - and that's cinema".

This year marks the 70th birthday of the world's biggest film festival, with A-listers including Nicole Kidman, Clint Eastwood and Will Smith set to grace the glitzy French resort amid "unprecedented" tight security.

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