As the 70th Cannes Film Festival kicks off the eyes of the cinema world are not just on the films being showcased, but on the changing role of streaming services, as Amazon makes its debut just a year after Netflix was left out. Joel Flynn looks at how technology and new business models are changing one of cinema’s oldest institutions.
In 69 years of opening nights at the Cannes Film Festival, on the surface at least, little has changed. But it's a different story for those behind the spotlights - and streaming giants Netflix and Amazon are at the centre of it. SOUNDBITE: Film Festival Director, Thierry Fremaux, saying (English): "I think it's money, new kind of money, new kind of interest. Having Amazon buying four or five films from the competition here is a very good sign to show how cinema is alive." Amazon is making its debut at this year's festival - five of its films have been selected, three for the main competition. Woody Allen's latest outing, "Cafe Society" - telling the story of old Hollywood - is one of them It''ll get a cinema release prior of streaming. Amazon's rival Netflix won't allow that - so it's been excluded from Cannes. SOUNDBITE: IHS Head of Video, Richard Cooper, saying (English): "Content producers, directors, screenwriters, want to see to their content on the big screen. Netflix have jumped ahead of that windowing structure and put that into an all you can eat subscription service, which means the value of that content cannot really be realised through that window." But the way we access films is changing - for all its tradition Cannes can't ignore that. SOUNDBITE: Variety Film Critic, Jay Weissberg, saying (English): "Every film festival is going to have to be more open to the idea that players like Amazon, Netflix are taking a large chunk of the market and we have to open ourselves up to the idea that this is what is happening, this is the future." The buying power of Netflix and Amazon is also growing - with foreign language films a particular target. The glitz and glamour of the film industry may be enduring - but a new era is underway.