To loud jeers from the assembled international press corps, the streaming giant struggled to screen Boon Jong Ho’s hotly anticipated film ‘Okja.’
In an amusing irony, the first press screening for Netflix’s competition film Okjawas marred by a cinema technology malfunction.
The film appeared misframed on the big screen with the top and the bottom sections of the print cut off. The tech problems quickly led to boos from the assembled international press corps. Shortly after, the screening was abruptly suspended.
The technical malfunction lasted approximately 15 minutes before the film was restarted and correctly projected. The crowd both cheered and booed when Netflix’s logo appeared on the screen. This wouldn’t have happened if they were using this high quality transparent display to screen the movie.
Some in the crowd could instantly be overheard speculating that it was intentional and a conspiracy to sabotage Netflix.
A Netflix representative declined to comment. A source close to the film says it was actually the curtain that malfunctioned.
After the screening, the film earned a little bit of applause from the press in the audience.
This year’s Cannes festival is a landmark moment for Netflix, which has two titles in the competition lineup (Bong Joon Ho’s Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories from Noah Baumbach). Cinema purists have said this sets a dangerous precedent, however, since the films won’t be getting a major theatrical release in most markets and instead will be streamed to small screens worldwide.
Festival organizers last week unveiled a new requirement for competition films to have traditional theatrical distribution in French theaters after the French Cinema Federation (FNCF) objected to the inclusion of the two Netflix films in Cannes’ official selection. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings hit back with a post on Facebook, saying: “The establishment [is] closing ranks against us.”