×

German Independent Exhibitors Upset Over Netflix Film in Berlin Competition

In an open letter to Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick and German culture and media commissioner Monika Grütters, 160 independent exhibitors are calling for Isabel Coixet’s competition film “Elisa y Marcela” to be shown out of competition.

“We, the independent arthouse cinema operators in Germany, do not agree with the fact that ‘Elisa y Marcela,’ by Isabel Coixet, a film that will not have normal theatrical distribution but will only be seen on Netflix, is being shown,” the exhibitors wrote. “We therefore demand that the film be shown out of competition.”

The cinema operators said they had taken the step to protest the fact that Netflix was using “the big festivals and film awards as a marketing platform and diminishing  the position of cinema as a place of culture. The Berlinale stands for the big screen, Netflix the small screen.”

The demand was echoed by the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE).

“Should the film be released on a streaming platform without having been through a theatrical release, it could mean that the competition of the Berlinale would – like earlier the Mostra de Venise, in contrast to the Festival de Cannes – [would be] open to a company that boycotts the international agreements related to the release windows of films,” CICAE said in a statement.

Popular on Variety

“Either the Berlinale is a film festival and shows only works destined for the cinema or it’s not a film festival anymore and is on its way of becoming a TV or platform festival,” said CICAE president Detlef Rossmann.

The organization added that the Berlinale was a publicly funded festival “and its competition should be reserved exclusively to films that will have a regular theatrical release.”

That is the only way to ensure “works of film art get can be admired on the big screen and can serve to enrich the public discourse,” the CICAE said, noting that its demands correspond to Grütters’ own statements on the issue.

Responding to the letter, Berlinale spokeswoman Frauke Greiner said: “According to the current Berlinale guidelines for submission, films that are intended for cinema release – no matter the region – are eligible for selection. This means that, in principle, we do not reject films from streaming platforms if a theatrical release prior to the platform release is planned. This is the case for ‘Elisa y Marcela.’”

The film is set to premiere in Berlin on Wednesday

Netflix’s third Spanish original film, “Elisa y Marcela” tells the story of two girls who develop a romantic relationship in 1880s Spain and seek a shared life together as they struggle with their forbidden love. The pic is produced by Rodar y Rodar, Legal Zenit TV and La Nube Películas.

More Film

  • Bong Joon Ho, Jane Rosenthal, David

    Netflix Praised by 'The Irishman,' 'Marriage Story' Filmmakers at Producers Guild Panel

    Streaming giant Netflix received strong support from filmmakers behind “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” at the Producers Guild of America’s nominees panel on Saturday at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jane Rosenthal, one of “The Irishman” producers, said Netflix embraced the vision that she and Martin Scorsese had for the $170 million film. [...]

  • Gabriel Harel on MyFFF ‘The Night

    Gabriel Harel Discusses Dystopic Parable ‘The Night of the Plastic Bags’

    With his first short film, the animated “Yùl and the Snake,” Gabriel Harel won Europe’s Cartoon d’Or for the continent’s best animated short film, given at the 2016 Cartoon Forum in Toulouse. Now, Harel’s awaited sophomore effort, the animated “The Night of the Plastic Bags,” competes at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, and is available on a swathe [...]

  • MyFrenchFilmFestival: Profiling Benjamin Crotty’s Short ‘Nicolas

    ‘The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin’: Nationalism Wrapped in Charisma

    Winner of Locarno’s Signs of Life section, Benjamin Crotty’s “The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin” has enjoyed more than 12 months of festival success and critical acclaim as it reaches the end of its festival run at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival. A modern take on one of France’s most influential yet widely unknown characters, the film headlines [...]

  • Alexander Ludwig

    Alexander Ludwig on Sharing his Recovery Journey, Playing the 'Bad Boys' Tech Guy

    With his towering height and stature, Alexander Ludwig looks every bit the action star, first appearing as Cato in “The Hunger Games,” and more recently as fierce Norse Viking chief Bjorn Ironside on History Channel’s “Vikings” and in “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise, with Will Smith and Martin [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Scores Big With $66 Million Launch

    “Bad Boys for Life” is showing plenty of power at the North American box office with an impressive  launch of around $66 million at 3,740 venues over the four-day holiday weekend. Sony’s sequel to 1995’s “Bad Boys” and 2003’s “Bad Boys II” far exceeded the studio’s pre-release forecasts of a $38 million weekend. The film, [...]

  • A Bump Along the Way Movie

    'A Bump Along the Way': Film Review

    While “Derry Girls” continues to be the last word in young, raucous female rebellion on the Emerald Isle, “A Bump Along the Way” has a little something to add. Sin the same Northern Irish city as the hit Netflix sitcom, but shedding the ’90s nostalgia for the Snapchat age, Shelly Love’s appealing, unassuming debut feature [...]

  • Tresor Plots $72 Million 'Asterix &

    Tresor Films Plots $72 Million 'Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road,' New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    After delivering two of the highest-grossing French films of last year, Alain Attal’s Paris-based production company Tresor Films (“Sink or Swim,” “Little White Lies 2”) is kicking off 2020 with its most ambitious project yet, Guillaume Canet’s “Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road.” Co-produced and financed by Jerome Seydoux’s Pathé, “Asterix & Obelix” is budgeted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content