Netflix distribution controversy to be discussed
ROME – Anorexia drama “To the Bone,” to which Netflix picked up worldwide rights at Sundance, will have its European festival premiere at Italy’s upcoming Ischia Global Film and Music fest, with Ted Sarandos and stars Lily Collins and Alex Sharp expected to make appearances.
“To the Bone,” the first feature film by prominent U.S. TV writer-director-producer Marti Noxon (“UnREAL,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), follows a 20-year-old anorexic (Collins) who tries to get the medical help she needs at a group home. Keanu Reeves plays an unconventional doctor.
The indie pic mixing dramatic and comic elements is based on the director’s own experiences with eating disorders and is produced by Julie Lynn, Bonnie Curtis, Karina Miller, and Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi, founders and co-chiefs of Italy’s Ambi Group.
Collins and Sharp, who plays a young British dancer also struggling with anorexia, will be feted with Ischia’s rising star nods.
Netflix snapped up “To the Bone” for a reported $8 million in January.
The streaming giant subsequently came under fire for launching films at Cannes that will largely bypass theatrical distribution. Ischia fest founder and chief Pascal Vicedomini said his festival would serve as a forum for further discussion of the controversy.
“We are glad to announce the return of Netflix to Ischia where the debate on this important topic will continue,” Vicedomini said in a statement.
Now in its 15th edition, the July 8-16 event on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, is an informal bridge-building meet between Hollywood and the Italian and European film industries.
Sarandos attended Ischia two years ago when Netflix launched into Italy and was in early negotiations on their first Italian original, crime series “Suburra,” produced by Cattleya and co-financed by Italian pubcaster Rai. In an unusual arrangement for Netflix, “Suburra” is expected to air first on Rai later this year before it streams on Netflix.
The Ischia festival’s honorary board is chaired by American producer Mark Canton, and includes Oscar-winning production designers Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo, and directors Paul Haggis and Bille August.