Will Smith sticks up for Netflix on heated Cannes jury

Will Smith has clashed with Pedro Almodovar over Netflix.

Today sees the start of the Cannes Film Festival but the star-studded event has made its own drama with controversy over whether films made by streaming platforms should be eligible for competition without being shown in French cinemas first.

(The Palme d'Or is the top prize at Cannes).

Nicole Kidman is trying to ignore all the fuss surrounding her appearance in a whopping four projects going to the Cannes Film Festival later this month.

The jury, which is also made up of Will Smith, Jessica Chastain and Paolo Sorrentino, will pick the Palme d'Or victor out of the 19 films in competition next weekend.

Actress Marion Cotillard, left, and Charlotte Gainsbourg pose for photographers during the photo call for the film Ismaels Ghosts, at the 70th global film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

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 two Netflix films in Cannes' official selection.

"I personally don't perceive the Palme d'Or [should be] given to a film that is then not seen on the big screen", Almodovar said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The size should not be smaller than the chair on which you're sitting. "It should not be part of your everyday setting", said the Spanish filmmaker.

"They go to the movie theater to be humbled in front of certain images and there's other films that they prefer to watch at home and there's really little to no cross".

Here he is hamming it up with Jessica Chastain and Pedro Almodóvar. Smith, who stars in Netflix's upcoming "Bright", gave his opinion shortly after.

Netflix was not mentioned in name but the new rule is clearly aimed at the US-based company that is seen as a threat to the ancient business model that the film industry operates under. Netflix bring a great connectivity to them to the world. "They get to find those artists".

"Would a Bong-type figure go with Netflix if it meant not playing Cannes?"

On a related note, Will Smith, also joked about his hometown to a group of festival goers saying, "West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes".

Security was greater than ever at the French festival, with stepped up efforts to restrict access and even an anti-drone system. This is also the first festival held since the truck attack in nearby Nice killed 86 people last June.

Kidman may be minimising her contribution to the most glamorous film festival in the world but, regardless, she'll have a stunning range of work on display after it opens on May 17.

When the topic was raised at the press conference Wednesday, Almodovar sided with the theater owners. When announcing this year's lineup, festival director Thierry Fremaux acknowledged Netflix presents "a unique and unheard of situation for us".

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