Streaming giant Netflix has decided to pull out of the Cannes Film Festival following a rule change. The move came after Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux had announced a ban on films from the main competition which do not have a proper theatrical release in France.
The ban came in response to huge controversy that erupted last year, when two Netflix films -- "Okja" and "The Meyerowitz Stories" -- entered the competition for the Palme d'Or without being released in cinemas.
In an interview with Variety, Netflix's content officer Ted Sarandos said the streaming giant will not be a part of the festival this year.
"We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker. There's a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They've set the tone. I don't think it would be good for us to be there," Sarandos said.
He also called the decision "completely contrary to the spirit of any film festival in the world".
Netflix, however, could still take part in the festival by taking its films out of the competition but Sarandos denied the possibility of it.
"No. I don't think there would be any reason to go out of competition. The rule was implicitly about Netflix, and Thierry made it explicitly about Netflix when he announced the rule," he said.
Netflix was supposed to present five features at the fest that included Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma"; Paul Greengrass' "Norway"; Jeremy Saulnier's "Hold the Dark"; Orson Welles' "The Other Side of the Wind", a newly completed version of the film that Welles shot in the 1970s; and Morgan Neville's "They'll Love Me When I'm Dead", a doc about the Welles film.
"We hope that they do change the rules. We hope that they modernize. But we will continue to support all films and all film-makers. We encourage Cannes to rejoin the world cinema community and welcome them back," Sarandos said.
The 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival will kick off from May 8.