Netflix’s complex relationship with the French cinema world took another twist on Monday as the streamer said it was bolstering its support of the Cinemathèque Française to become a major sponsor of the institution over a three-year period.
The streamer has collaborated with the cinematheque since 2018, notably sponsoring the restoration of Abel Gance’s 1927 classic Napoleon in 2019 and showcasing its own originals such as Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery in the institution’s iconic Henri Langlois auditorium.
Under the new accord, Netflix will sponsor several Cinémathèque operations, including film programming and masterclasses, the Toute La Mémoire du Monde Festival (March 8-12) and its youth-focused Ma Petite Cinémathèque program.
The platform will also get behind the institution’s temporary exhibitions with curated online programs, kicking off with current show Top Secret: Film & Espionage and followed by Romy Schneider (March 16 to July 30) and the cinémathèque’s major Agnès Varda Viva Varda! retrospective running from October 11, 2023, to January 28, 2024.
Additionally, Netflix will contribute props, models, scripts, production design elements, costumes and archive footage from Netflix films to the Cinémathèque’s Collections.
Since its arrival in France in 2014, Netflix has navigated the country’s strict media chronology and hostility from some parts of the local film industry to steadily build its place as a major player in the French film and TV industry.
Monday’s announcement comes as the streamer continues to lobby for a further softening of the country’s tough windowing rules, which have deterred the streamer from presenting a film at the Cannes Film Festival since 2017.
Under a major overhaul of the media windows system at the beginning of 2022, Netflix negotiated a 15-month window, between a film’s theatrical release and its availability on its online platform, in return for extra investment in local movies.
This was an improvement on the original window of 36 months but the platform is pushing for a further reduction.
Netflix and the cinematheque first worked together in 2018 on a screening of Orson Welles’ The Other Side Of The Wind in 2018.
The platform and institution have since collaborated on occasional masterclasses by directors working with Netflix such as Damien Chazelle and David Fincher in 2020 as well as Aaron Sorkin in 2021.
The Cinémathèque has also hosted special premieres for a number of Netflix Original Movies including Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (2019), David Fincher’s Mank (2020) and Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up and Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery in 2022.
Cinémathèque Française Managing Director Frédéric Bonnaud said the sponsorship deal would help the institution bring in a wider audience.
“It makes it easier for the Cinémathèque Française to grant exclusive access to great directors and international actors for a wide audience and to inspire younger generations to have a passion for film,” he said.
Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce, Director of Communications & PR, Netflix, France and Southern Europe said the cinematheque’s work chimed with its objective to make cinema culture more available.
“We share the same determination to make films more accessible for everyone and increase the awareness of auteurs,” she said.
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