Almodovar and Smith's comments on Netflix at Cannes

Bella Hadid

The festival kicked off on Wednesday with a press event featuring the star-studded Cannes jury-the group that includes A-list actors Will Smith and Jessica Chastain, and which will vote on films competing at this year's festival.

"The Festival de Cannes is aware of the anxiety aroused by the absence of the release in theatres of those films in France", the statement added.

The jury will pick the Palme d'Or victor out of the 19 films in competition next weekend. "There's very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix", Smith said. While Cannes is one of the most recognizable names in film, numerous movies that compete (and win) at the festival are foreign, and thus do not generate the same viewership domestically as those that originate in the United States. Netflix, along with Amazon, has been an increasingly powerful player at film festivals, actively acquiring films and using festivals as glitzy global launchpads for its movies.

"I personally do not conceive, not only the Palme d'Or, any other prize being given to a film and not being able to see this film on a big screen", Almodovar said.

Netflix was not mentioned in name but the new rule is clearly aimed at the US-based company that is seen as a threat to the ancient business model that the film industry operates under. However, the festival's organisers have confirmed that the Netflix titles will indeed be screened - but that the festival rules will be changed for 2018 so that all films in competition will have to be guaranteed a French theatrical release and not reserved for subscribers to Netflix or Amazon.

Filmmaker Wera Aung, whose film One Summer Day is one of the ten projects worldwide to be selected for La Fabrique de Cinemas du Monde at Cannes, is the only Myanmar citizen at this year's festival. With Netflix they get the benefit to watch what they never would have seen, it brings great connectivity to them to the world. And now they get to find those artists and they look them up online and they make contact.

Stars are arriving under tighter security than in previous years, 10 months after the truck attack in nearby Nice killed 86 people.

On Wednesday, the heightened measures were already causing something unthinkable at the stringently clockwork Cannes: slight delays at screenings and press conferences.

Three years ago European Parliament had backed a motion urging anti-trust regulators to get tough on Google.

Ahead of the premiere of "Ismael's Ghosts", Monica Bellucci presided over an opening ceremony that included a slight riff on the best picture envelope flub that concluded this year's Academy Awards ceremony.

Others in the running for top honours include Happy End, 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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