Netflix’s strategy to compete in the “big leagues” of film festivals

Despite the barriers imposed by the industry, the US production company has sought options to remain competitive in the cinema

Netflix's strategy to compete in the "big leagues" of film festivals

Rome, the most recent film from the multi-awarded Mexican director, Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, and your mom too ), has been acclaimed at the Venice International Film Festival, leaving good reviews and great expectations for those who have not. viewed. In addition to the quality of the film, it is striking his production house: the giant of streaming, Netflix. With Rome, the American company wants to enter fully the competition of the highest level of the seventh art. Her previous experiences, especially in Cannes, have led her to rethink her strategy in festivals and awards.

Leer en español: La estrategia de Netflix para competir en las "grandes ligas" del cine


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Just in April of this year, Netflix decided not to participate in the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival, due to the restriction to ban the tapes that have not been released in French theaters, according to the newspaper El País. However, the problem for Netflix is not really the fact of releasing its productions in cinemas, but the limitation of putting them online up to 3 years after the premiere in theaters, completely breaking with their way of working. Thierry Frémaux, director of the festival, gave the option to Netflix to only screen out of competition, something that the US production company did not accept.

Netflix has turned the film and television industry on its head, its production capacity is monstrous. It has more than 100 million users in the world, according to data from El País, which shows its power in the world of visual media. Despite this, he has received criticism for the differences in the quality of his productions in different parts of the world, on the one hand he is capable of producing high quality works with prestigious directors such as Alfonso Cuarón and the Coen brothers (Fargo, El Gran Lebowski), while on the other he produces series and films with severe criticism for their quality.

As far as cinema is concerned there are directors who have assured that they would not work for Netflix like Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Inception) to the newspaper El Mundo, or that the platform has harmed cinema as claimed by Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, The List of Schindler), according to the Huffington Post, so he should not compete for the Oscars from his point of view: "I do not think that the tapes that only reach a couple of theaters during a week should be eligible for the nominations for the awards of the Academy"  told ITV News .

If for the festivals and the awards it is necessary to have the tapes premiered in cinemas, Netflix has looked for the way to give them pleasure. That is, he has sought bold or tricky strategies, depending on the point of view, to comply with the "bureaucratic" requirements and to give his productions free passage to these events. In principle, after the clash with the Cannes Film Festival Esquire said that the platform was considering the purchase of a chain of cinemas to be able to release their films in full control. Netflix already knows what it is to win an Oscar, although he did it with a short film, Ícaro, now he aspires to achieve it with feature films.

The platform has arrived to transform the way in which cinema is produced, distributed and watched. This new debate leaves little to the one that existed on digital cinema versus conventional, now the problem is much deeper and is in full swing. Will critical things be able to see the quality of the films and not the producer from which it comes? Netflix has made its bet.


LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio

Translated from: "La estrategia de Netflix para competir en las "grandes ligas" del cine"

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