Will Smith Defends Netflix As Cannes Streaming Debate Rages
Will Smith Defends Netflix As Cannes Streaming Debate Rages
19 May, 2017, 15:53
The "Independence Day" actor is now one of the jurors at the Cannes Film Festival and during a press conference Smith became embroiled in a heated debate with the jury president and Spanish director after he claimed the introduction of the popular streaming site has increased tension in the film industry.
Whooping with excitement and high-fiving reporters, Will Smith looked like he was ready to have fun as a member of the Cannes Film Festival jury that assembled in this French Riviera resort on Wednesday.
"So I am excited to be here, more than anything to learn", he told a news conference alongside other members of the jury that will decide which film wins the Palme d'Or award on May 28.
Netflix has refused to release its two movies in the running for the prize in French cinemas due to strict rules that mean subscription services can not offer films for streaming until three years after their theatrical release.
"I was probably 14 years old the last time I watched three movies in one day!" he said.
Critics have hit out at Netflix's inclusion and a new rule has been introduced for next year requiring films to have had theatrical distribution in French cinemas.
Director Pedro Almodovar arrives on stage at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. "You must be small and humble in front of the image that's here".
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The company has refused to screen the two movies in French cinemas because of rules that mean films can not be streamed from subscription services in France until three years after their traditional box-office release. "There's very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix".
But Smith said: "In my home, Netflix has been nothing but an absolute benefit".
Smith also argued that services like Netflix give his children access to films and filmmakers they might otherwise not have experienced. "It has broadened my children's global cinematic comprehension", the actor said.
Italian star Monica Bellucci hosted Cannes's opening ceremony on Wednesday night, with French drama "Ismael's Ghosts", starring Marion Cotillard, as the opening film.
The Australian actress is the undisputed queen of this year's Cannes, starring in three movies as well as the TV series "Top of the Lake", which is getting a special screening.
Others in the running for top honours include HappyEnd, another film set against the backdrop of the migrant crisis by Amour director Michael Haneke, who is seeking a record-breaking third Palme d'Or.
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