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Ted Sarandos Addresses Cannes-Netflix Controversy

Ted Sarandos

Ted Sarandos has made a public statement to address the controversy that Netflix caused at the Cannes Film Festival this year, reminding viewers that “the culture is changing”.

Two Netflix titles will play at the festival this year among the main competition, but they will not be appearing in French theaters. Many film enthusiasts and festival attendees complained that movies without a theatrical release should not be screened at the festival, as there is a French rule requiring a three-year delay between a theatrical release and a streaming service debut.

At Cannes, Sarandos gave an interview stating, “We’re living amid a generation that has seen every great movie ever made on a phone, so I think we all have to come to grips with where technology takes us.”

Netflix’s movies at Cannes include “Okja”, a fantasy film by director Bong Joon-ho. At the film’s premiere, many attendees booed at the appearance of the Netflix credit in the screening, though others cheered.

As the Chief Content Officer of Netflix, Sarandos has always been at the forefront of innovation and technology when it comes to media viewing and streaming, and has urged his more traditional film industry colleagues to open themselves up to the changes happening within the film industry in a brand new, digital world.

Though directors like Pedro Almodovar insisted that a theatrical release provides an experience a streaming service can’t possibly match, and is designed to awe and humble the viewer, Sarandos argued that streaming services provide wide access to films and a democratization of the film viewing process.

The controversy at Cannes is just the latest highlight in an ongoing battle between the traditional and the innovative film world that continues to develop as technology advances and society’s method of consuming media continues to evolve.

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