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Netflix to Release Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ in Theaters Worldwide

Five years after opening Venice with 3D space thriller “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron was back on the Lido on Thursday with “Roma,” his semi-autobiographical, black-and-white film based on growing up in Mexico City in the 1960s and ’70s. The director as well as producer David Linde, CEO of film’s backing shingle Participant Media, say Netflix will be releasing “Roma” both theatrically and on the streaming platform around the world.

“It’s a very harmonious [distribution] model,” Cuaron said at the press conference, where he was cheered by journalists. “Roma,” which marks his return to Spanish-language filmmaking, world-premiered to positive buzz.

“A film like this, in Spanish, indigenous [language], in black and white and a drama, not a genre movie, we know it would have huge difficulty just finding space to be shown in theaters,” Cuaron said, adding that “of course the ideal situation would be to show it in a theater on a big screen.”

Linde said that Participant Media and Cuaron gave a great deal of thought “to how we wanted to reach audiences” before selling the movie to Netflix under a new type of hybrid distribution agreement, details of which are being kept under wraps.

“We want the movie to be seen in theaters, but we also want the movie to be seen by millions of people,” Linde said, adding: “We’ve found a balance.”

Speaking to Variety, Linde — who has produced three movies from Cuaron, the first one being his Spanish-language “Y tu mamá también,” which premiered in Venice in 2001 — said that the indie world is going through “an exciting time right now” because it feels like people “are actually going back to the movies in a really really dynamic way.”

However, “you have to acknowledge that they are open to watching films in a lot of different ways,” he noted.

“If you don’t, then this new reality will pass you by.”

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