Tensions continue to mount between European exhibitors and the continent’s biggest festivals.
European exhibition trade body UNIC released a public call for participating titles at the Venice Film Festival to receive a full theatrical run following the festival’s inclusion of Netflix titles The Laundromat and Marriage Story.
UNIC, which represents exhibition circuits across 38 European territories, released the statement below on the matter:
Thanks to their global prestige, leading film festivals and awards competitions have both the honour and the responsibility of bringing high quality and diverse films to the attention of audiences around the world.
For that reason, cinema operators expect both to consider only those titles intended to receive a full theatrical release and – where release strategies for films selected for inclusion are not yet confirmed – to make every effort to encourage the distributors of these titles to observe established industry norms.
The inclusion of films in official selections that are within the reach of everyone – and not only that of streaming platform subscribers – benefits the audience as a whole. Where films are available solely on these platforms, or receive only a limited “technical” release in cinemas, festival/award selection becomes in truth only a marketing tool whereby most of the potential audience is denied access to a wealth of great content.
Cinemas offer their audiences an unparalleled cultural and social experience, which through state of the art technologies allow each film truly to do justice to the creative vision of its director. Not only do they represent the gold standard for film viewing, but in general theatrical releases also provide the opportunity for the widest possible audience to discover and enjoy as broad a range of film content as possible, employing a fair and transparent business model of longstanding and proven benefit to audiences as well as to the wider film and cinema sector.
In short, cinema operators – who are themselves long-standing and strong partners and supporters of film festivals and awards competitions – strongly believe that those organising such events around the World should celebrate and support the social, cultural and economic relevance of cinemas, taking responsibility for the diversity and accessibility of the films they include.
The Global Cinema Federation (GCF), a worldwide grouping representing cinema exhibition’s global interests, supported UNIC’s stance on the matter.
“The Executive Committee of the Global Cinema Federation strongly supports the statement of UNIC on film festivals and awards, and adds its voice to that statement,” said a representative via email. “From its inception two years ago, the GCF has made theatrical exclusivity a primary focus of the federation’s work. We believe that UNIC’s position published today constitutes an important step forward,.”
The Venice Film Festival will run from August 28 to September 7.