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Netflix Might Have Found a Way to Compete in Cannes After All

With more clashes and twists than a telenovela, the conflicted relationship between the Cannes Film Festival and Netflix might not be completely over, after all.

By showing interest in acquiring this year’s opening night film, Spanish title Everybody Knows (Todos lo Saben), the streaming giant seems to have found a loophole to enter the prestigious film competition – and maybe even go home with a Palme d’Or.

In addition to the recently revealed company’s eagerness to buy American theaters in order to get Oscar nominations, this latest report proves that Netflix still has a few dollars tricks up its sleeve when it comes to getting exactly what it wants.

But the seemingly bold move, coming just weeks after Cannes’s decision to ban all Netflix movies from its competition, is actually not so surprising. Every year, films presented throughout the festival don’t have a distributor in foreign countries and typically find investors during the crucial Marché du Film (the world’s busiest movie market, involving more than 12,000 industry professionals), which acquisition executives from Netflix will also attend.

The Marché du Film (the business counterpart of the Cannes Film Festival) is the busiest movie market in the world / FDC

While, according to Variety, Netflix has also expressed interest in other productions to be introduced during the festival starting tomorrow, Everybody Knows, directed by Academy Award-winner Asghar Farhadi and starring power couple Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, is the first known title on its list of potential acquirements. This, of course, means Netflix could purchase the rights to distribute more than one major contender.

Back in March, decision-makers from the festival announced that Netflix’s content would be banned from competing for a Palme d’Or following the company’s decision not to release its films in theatre, something French producers and President of the festival, Thierry Frémaux, deem essential to run for the distinguished prize. “The Netflix people loved the red carpet and would like to be present with other films,” said Frémaux at the time of the announcement. “But they understand that the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours.” 

Soon after, Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos, was quick to note the remaining possibility for Netflix to acquire Cannes in-competition movies. “We will have people there who are in the business of acquiring films, because many films will be there without distribution,” Sarandos ironically told Variety.

If there’s one thing Netflix’s initiative shows, it is that the billion-dollar streaming platform (which could soon be worth more than Disney), by continuing to spend incredible amounts of cash on content, deals and publicity, has made it impossible for anyone to dismiss its ever-growing affluence.