Beatrice Welles, the daughter of Orson Welles, is speaking out in defense of her father following Netflix’s announcement that it won’t be submitting Welles’ final film to the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Vanity Fair published part of an email Beatrice sent to Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Office, in which she urged him to “reconsider” his decision to remove “The Other Side of the Wind” from Cannes and begged Netflix not to be another studio that “destroyed” her father’s work.
“I was very upset and troubled to read in the trade papers about the conflict with the Cannes Film Festival,” Beatrice said in the email. “I have to speak out for my father. I saw how the big production companies destroyed his life, his work, and in so doing a little bit of the man I loved so much. I would so hate to see Netflix be yet another one of these companies.”
Beatrice’s email made note of the fact that Welles had a healthy relationship with Cannes throughout his career. Before the creation of the Palme d’Or, Welles won the festival’s top honor in 1952 for his “Othello” adaptation. Welles also earned the best actor trophy in 1959 for his performance in “Compulsion.”
“Please reconsider and let my father’s work be the movie that bridges the gap between Netflix and Cannes,” Beatrice said.
As Sarandos explained when he announced Netflix would not be participating in the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the decision is a reaction to Cannes’ newly implemented rule stating that films without French theatrical distribution can’t compete at the festival for the Palme d’Or. The rule allowed Netflix films to debut movies out of competition, which is where “The Other Side of the Win” would’ve premiered, but Sarandos said Netflix titles would be removed entirely since the competition rule specifically targets Netflix.
“The festival has chosen to celebrate distribution rather than the art of cinema,” Sarandos said. “We are 100% about the art of cinema. And by the way, every other festival in the world is too.”
“The Other Side of the Wind” producer Filip Jan Rymsza took to the movie’s official Indiegogo page to react to Netflix’s Cannes ban. He said the decision to remove Welles’ final film from a Cannes premiere has resulted in “disappointment” and “heartbreak.” Rymsza confirmed that the team behind the film “fought long and hard to pursued Netflix” to allow the movie to screen at Cannes.
“Our film was selected to screen Out of Competition, as an Official Selection in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, so it was not directly effected by the ban,” Rymsza wrote. “What’s sad and most difficult to come to terms with is that everyone loses in this decision — Cannes, Netflix, film lovers and all of us who worked so hard on this historic endeavor
“Granted, I’m conflicted in my emotions,” he continued. “There would be no ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ without Netflix, but that doesn’t lessen my disappointment and heartbreak.”
Netflix has not announced premiere plans for “The Other Side of the Wind.” The 2018 Cannes Film Festival runs May 8-19.